Schools Earn State ‘Green’ Certification
Shenandoah County Began Energy-Saving Project In Feb. 2011
The Shenandoah County school division is scheduled to be honored as a “Certified Green School” at a conference for the Virginia School Boards Association in Williamsburg today at noon.
Superintendent B. Keith Rowland, who made note of the award at Thursday’s board meeting, credited an energy-saving project that included several upgrades to schools across the division.
The project, which began in February 2011, was funded with federal stimulus money allocated to schools by the state in 2009, said Gene Dykes, maintenance supervisor for Shenandoah County Public Schools. That money was used to pay the debt service on the 17-year bond used to fund the $7.3 million project.
Improvements have included updating obsolescent technology and equipment within the schools, such as boilers, unit ventilators, thermostats and building automation and control systems.
Several water-saving additions were made as well, such as automatic sink faucets and low-flush toilets. Lighting systems also were upgraded.
Dykes said the improvements are saving the school division a couple of hundred thousand dollars each year on energy bills.
The division normally would pay for these sorts of upgrades with money allocated for capital improvements, something Shenandoah Schools has been short of in recent years because of the economic downturn, Dykes said.
According to Rowland, the division has not had any funding for capital improvement projects in five years. Emergency projects that come up are funded out of an already strained maintenance budget, he said.
Having been able to make the energy-saving improvements has eased that strain a bit.
“What we don’t have to do as much of is the emergency response and repairs to things,” Dykes said.
The final stage of the project — converting the boilers at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School from oil to natural gas — is scheduled to be complete within the next few months.
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