Written By: Auriane Koster, Ph.D., Sustainability Manager
The following is a press release about to be published in the Nogales International newspaper.
All 10 schools and the Nogales Unified School District office building earned ENERGY STAR certification as part of their Energy Savings Program. Very few districts have all their locations achieve this certification, stated Dr. Auriane Koster, Sustainability Manager for Pierce Energy Planning, a subcontractor to Midstate Energy.
NUSD contracted with Midstate Energy over a year ago to help the district conserve energy to reduce the district’s rising electricity bills. The project has two parts: mechanical upgrades and energy behavior change and curriculum implementation. “NUSD has been very successful in both,” Koster noted at a presentation to the NUSD School Board on April 10, 2017.
Koster handed out plaques to each school’s principal and to the District in recognition of earning ENERGY STAR certification. The rating is based on the site’s energy use over a year’s period, and scores range from one to 100. Sites that receive at least a 75 are recognized for their regionally lower energy use per building size, and all NUSD sites scored well above that level with Mary Welty Elementary, Pierson Vocational High School, A.J. Mitchell Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, and Wade Carpenter Middle School currently earning a perfect 100. The District office, Challenger Elementary, Robert M. Bracker Elementary, and Desert Shadows currently has a 99. Nogales High School has a 98, and Francisco Vasquez de Coronado has an 89.
Several factors impact a school’s energy use over a year’s time, and energy use can even change from one month to another, Koster said, explaining that adding computers or other equipment will increase energy use even at sites where energy-conscious behavior has resulted in energy savings.
Along with mechanical upgrades, each school in the district has had teachers attend a sustainability and energy conservation professional development, led by Koster, and each school has implemented teacher-run student Green Teams. You can learn more about the district’s Energy Savings program by visiting: http://www.nusd.k12.az.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=130383&pageId=908903