Projects, decisions help environment, save districts money local news electricity worksheets grade 6


“It’s important that both the state and federal government encourage public schools and colleges and all public buildings to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly,” said state Rep. Garth Everett, R-84, said. “It makes sense from both an environmental and long-term financial perspective. The state also supports energy education in the classroom through their Keystone Energy Education Program.”

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) gives rating to buildings based on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, which is “the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement,” according to the USGBC.

Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then earns one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum, according to USGBC.

PlanCon, the school construction authorizing and funding mechanism in Pennsylvania, incentivizes high-performance school construction who achieve LEED Silver status, said Everett, who is a member of the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

“Pennsylvania currently has 107 LEED certified school, at least six Green Globes certified schools, and one Collaborative for High-Performance Schools certified school,” Everett said. “There are 233 Energy Star Labeled K-12 Schools in Pennsylvania. So, not only can school districts get additional grant dollars for building environmentally friendly schools, they see reduced lifecycle costs if they integrate high efficiency and alternative energy powered HVAC systems.”

The Lewisburg Area School District’s new high school, which opened last year, earned the LEED Gold Certification, the second-highest certification. Among the green work at the new school on Newman Road is the 660 solar panels installed on the roof, which bring an estimated annual savings of $18,000. All of the concrete blocks contain 60 percent recycled materials.

Natural gas is used at the two elementary schools and high school. High-efficiency boilers are used in most of the buildings as well, LED lighting is replacing much of the lighting and building automation is used, according to school officials.

For the elementary school, Gallegos’ data showed the last complete year prior to the high-efficiency boiler replacement and the first complete year after, which indicated a significant drop in natural gas usage and costs savings. The cost went from $29,838.42 in the 2014-15 school year to $14,631.75 in the 2016-2017 school year.

For the high school, the data showed significant savings in natural gas to the heat the building the last full year at the old high school to the first full year at the new high school. The cost went from $54,296.21 in 2014 to $42,143.76 in 2017.

The geothermal project for Line Mountain School District saves the district at least $150,000 each year since the elementary school was converted from oil in 2010 and the middle/high school in 2013. The district’s bill for electricity last year was $175,000, according to school officials.

The geothermal system is a closed-loop system that uses the earth as a heat source in the winter and a heat sink in the summer. Multiple wells are dug at each location, then water from the wells circulates through the building. The average start temperature of the water is 55 degrees. The elementary school in Trevorton has 50 wells while the bigger campus at the middle/high school has 100.

Lagerman said in 2010 the district was spending $4 a gallon for 100,000 gallons of oil to heat the elementary and middle schools. If the district still used oil, Lagerman said it would be spending $235,000 to purchase the oil, plus $175,000 for electricity.

“We have an environmental club at the high school,” Cohrs said. “We celebrate Earth Day annually, we recycle, we try to communicate electronically as much as possible to reduce paper, our elementary school received a LEED Gold Award, and our high school received a green globe certification. We have upgraded heating systems to natural gas and reduced overall energy costs.”

“We installed energy efficient materials and a new HVAC system into the building,” Hummel said. “It was LEED gold certified. After the renovation, we determined we cut our energy use by about 30 percent. Before the renovation/expansion we were spending about $1.45 per square foot in energy costs and after the project, the energy costs went down to $1.03 per square foot. The high school renovations earned Green Globes recognition. We saved approximately 10 percent in our overall energy costs. The square foot costs went from $1.34 to $1.21 per square foot.”

The $5.9 million project also includes lighting and building control upgrades at the middle school, intermediate and high school. There is guaranteed energy and operational savings of $3,425,282 that will offset the capital costs. McClure Company out of Harrisburg is doing the project, Hummel said.

The Shikellamy Middle School, which opened in Northumberland in 2016, is a LEED-certified building. It was constructed to include high-efficiency boilers, LED lighting and insulated exterior block walls, all designed to reduce energy costs and increase energy efficiency, according to business manager David Sinopoli.

“Approximately eight years ago, the school district entered into an Energy Performance Contract, whereby existing lights were retrofit, window and door weather striping was installed or replaced, and blown-in insulation was added to select buildings throughout the school district,” Sinopoli said. “All updates were designed to save money and increase energy efficiency. Annually, the school district looks to retrofit wherever possible to increase energy efficiency.”

“The dollars in 2010 are not the same as the dollars in 2017, due to price/rate increases and the like. A dollar in 2017 doesn’t get you what it got you in 2010,” Sinopoli said. “The better comparison is the rate of measurement between the years in question.”

Additionally, the school district recycles cardboard and paper via receptacles located at various buildings throughout the district. Educationally, the school district tries to incorporate eco-friendly practices, so students can be aware of the impact all individuals have on the environment, Sinopoli said.

Kindergarten through fifth grades have ecology lessons embedded in science, with the younger grades focused on recycling. Sixth grade science also focuses on life science/ecology. Ninth grade science also includes ecology, and environmental science is offered as an elective at the high school. Co-curricular activities include the JROTC program participating in Earth Week annually, according to Sinopoli.