April 22, 2010 (COLUMBUS) Three Ohio school districts will remember Earth Day 2010 as the day they were approved for participation in a program designed to produce energy conservation savings.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) gave its approval at its April 22, 2010 meeting to projects in the Alliance City (Stark County), Liberty Benton Local (Hancock County), and Lisbon Exempted Village (Columbiana County) school districts. The projects will be done under the Commission’s Energy Conservation program, more commonly known as the HB 264 program.
The program, established in 1987, is designed to encourage school districts to engage in capital projects that provide for more efficient consumption of energy. Under the program, districts use the savings realized from the reduced energy consumption from the improvements to pay any obligations incurred. The current payback period is a maximum of fifteen years or less.
While the fact that the approval came on the same day as Earth Day 2010 was a coincidence, OSFC Executive Director Richard C. Murray said it was a good point to emphasize. “Earth Day is designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. This year marks the 40th annual commemoration of this important event, which is now celebrated in over 175 countries worldwide.” Murray went on to note that “Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Given the strong emphasis that the administration of Governor Ted Strickland places on energy conservation and environmental awareness, it is fitting that we acknowledge Earth Day by the approval of these projects.”
The three districts are expected to see a total of $450,000 in annual savings through the planned improvements.
In addition to its commitment to energy conservation through the HB 264 program, all school buildings currently being designed or built with OSFC funds seek certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® for Schools rating system. This national benchmark for high performing, energy efficient buildings provides parents, teachers and the community with a report card for their school buildings – verifying that the school has been built to meet a high level of energy and environmental performance.
Schools in districts that were approved for OSFC funding after September 2007 are being designed to meet at least LEED Silver Certification, with a goal of meeting the LEED Gold level. Over 170 buildings are currently seeking certification.