2022-2023 Recognition Program Honorees
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, with technical support from Berkeley Lab, honored 17 K-12 schools and districts serving over 600,000 students in 15 states as part of the 2023 Recognition Program.
Recognition Objectives and Categories
The Campaign is excited to celebrate schools and districts for planning efforts and outstanding implementation of solutions in the categories of Energy Efficiency Plus Health and Emissions Reduction and Resilience. Through setting ambitious goals and applying best practices, these schools and districts have achieved substantial energy savings and greatly improved the learning environment by improving their facilities’ indoor air quality, lighting, and building controls. By celebrating their success, the Campaign aims to amplify the importance of energy-efficient, healthy, and resilient schools, and inspire other schools to take action.
Congratulations to the 17 Honorees receiving Efficient and Healthy Schools Recognition
Together, two-thirds of the schools operated by our honorees are Title I. Our recognition includes a diversity of schools that are leading the way, from schools in urban cities to others that serve our rural communities.
Best In Class: Energy Efficiency Plus Health
Recipients of Best-in-Class recognition for implementing projects in the Energy Efficiency Plus Health category are listed below.
These projects are well-planned, collect robust data that documents improvements in energy efficiency and learning, engaged students in learning opportunities, and are replicable.
Independent School District 197, MN
Students: 5,100, Schools: 8. ISD 197 partnered with their utility and prioritized energy efficiency during the design and construction process and commissioning. The district completed indoor air quality assessments and major renovations of eight schools. A new aquatics building utilizes a solar thermal heating system. District staff were trained on new equipment and systems by the Center for Energy and Environment. Students and staff participated in district-wide energy conservation and sustainability activities.
Katy Independent School District, TX
Students: 94,000, Schools: 75. Katy ISD replaced and upgraded building management control systems in 50 buildings and completed whole building measurement and verification. Significant reduction in energy use was achieved through enhanced sequences of operations specifications and graphics. Control upgrades also improved student and staff comfort and facilitated more efficient maintenance and operation. Facilities staff engage with students about energy efficiency through events like career days.
Boston Public Schools, MA
Students: 41,700, Schools: 74. The BPS Indoor Air Quality Management Program and BPS Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Program implemented annual school environmental audits and installed air quality monitors. Monitoring allows facilities management to record and analyze real-time indoor air quality parameters, and audits keep building conditions and air quality safe and healthy over time.
Denver Public Schools, CO
Students: 90,000, Schools: 207. Denver Public Schools completed district-wide LED retrofits, HVAC and other system upgrades, and indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring. The projects specifically targeted schools that serve students high on their equity index and have higher capital needs and energy use intensity. Denver Public Schools worked with its utility, Energy Services of Colorado, and the Colorado Energy Office.
Lincoln Public Schools, NE
Students: 48,800, Schools: 119. Originally constructed in 1926, Park Middle School replaced its natural gas HVAC with fully electric units. The school also replaced its conventional air handling units with water source heat pumps and installed a geothermal wellfield. The new system uses heat recovery dedicated outdoor air system units to improve ventilation and thermal comfort. The school replaced windows and installed LEDs and occupancy sensors.
North Syracuse Central School District, NY
Students: 8,100, Schools: 11. This district conducted a complete renovation and addition to KWS Bear Road Elementary School to create a Net Zero Energy Ready facility. Energy efficiency measures included a tight and well-insulated building envelope, LEDs with daylighting control in all classrooms, occupancy sensors in every space, and complete replacement and upgrade of all HVAC mechanical equipment. Improved indoor environmental quality was integral to the project.
Best In Class: Emissions Reduction and Resilience
Emissions Reduction and Resilience category projects went beyond energy efficiency, addressing emissions and improving community resilience by including greenhouse gas emissions tracking and reporting and low-carbon building design.
Adams 12 Five Star Schools, CO
Students: 36,000, Schools: 54. Adams 12 Five Star Schools’ exemplary efforts to achieve remarkable low emissions in three projects not only utilized high building performance standards, but also fully embraced building as a teaching tool. The district held a Carbon Cutting ceremony for students when the solar array was commissioned and began operation. Students learned about solar energy and the impact of solar production via a real-time energy submeter. The district also tracks district-wide greenhouse gas emissions and considers vulnerabilities to drought and wildfires in their building designs.
Notable Achievement: Energy Efficiency Plus Health
These honored school districts demonstrated success in setting a broad work scope, clearly stating performance criteria, and describing improvements in energy efficiency and the learning environment.
Orange County Public Schools, FL
Students: 5,100, Schools: 8. Using data-driven analysis, Orange County Public Schools determined how to best reduce energy consumption and set baselines by performing lighting audits, and subsequently installed retrofits that significantly improved energy efficiency.
Richmond School District, WI
Students: 420, Schools: 1. Richmond School District used LED lighting, HVAC equipment and controls, and indoor air quality audits to advance energy efficiency and health in learning environments.
Rockingham County Schools, NC
Students: 11,000 Schools: 22. Rockingham County Schools utilized performance contracting to realize energy savings through lighting, domestic hot water plumbing fixtures, HVAC equipment, and energy management controls.
Maine Township High School District 207, IL
Students: 6,300 Schools: 4. Maine Township High School District 207 installed condensing boilers at two schools, a high efficiency electric chiller at one school, and a dedicated outdoor air system with pipe fan coils at all three schools. Students shadowed the engineering team to learn about energy concepts and applications.
Atlanta Public Schools, GA
Students: 50,000, Schools: 87. Atlanta Public Schools updated HVAC equipment and controls and conducted commissioning and seasonal testing, which resulted in improved energy efficiency, system reliability, and overall performance, and provided ventilation and thermal comfort for students and staff.
Springfield Public Schools, MA
Students: 23,800, Schools: 66. Springfield Public Schools conducted building-by-building surveys, studying electric and natural gas accounts, and implemented a competitive bid process, resulting in a four-phase energy plan that led to significant energy savings every year and healthier environments for their school buildings.
Notable Achievement: Emissions Reduction and Resilience
Recognizing schools and districts that have implemented strategies to reduce carbon emissions and taken actions to improve resilience.
Sonoma Academy, CA
Students: 325, Schools: 1. Sonoma Academy’s design of a new student center reduced emissions and enhanced resiliency to address impacts from extreme heat, drought, and wildfires. The project achieved embodied and operational carbon goals by using state of the art equipment and materials, and achieved net zero energy, verified by measurement.
In addition to exemplary projects, the Campaign is also recognizing schools that demonstrated strong commitment to improving facilities. These plans are the first step towards efficient and healthy schools and include sustainability commitments, district energy and carbon reduction goals, and high standards for indoor environmental quality.
Charleston County School District, SC
Students: 49,300, Schools: 82. Charleston School District developed a strategic plan to address energy management, build staff capacity, and prioritize buildings to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, and reduce energy consumption by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2040.
Orange County Public Schools, FL
Students: 199,100, Schools: 274. Orange County Public Schools 2030 sustainability plan communicating sustainability objectives, indicators, and strategies. The plan’s five key targets are waste reduction, water conservation, health and wellness, energy conservation and renewable energy, and transportation.
Nenana City School District, AK
Students: 1,700, Schools: 2. Nenana City School District developed an environmental health, efficiency, and resiliency plan to improve facility operations, enhance indoor air quality and environmental health, and advance resiliency to ensure community safety during heat, energy, and water supply emergency situations.
Bellingham Public Schools, WA
Students: 11,000 Schools: 22. Bellingham Public Schools created a comprehensive climate action plan to not only address the climate crisis and improve health and wellness of students and staff, but also to empower students through activities related to equity, leadership, and learning.