The US EPA and Dept. of Energy have a national Energy Star program.Â Â Starting in 2004,Â Kentucky developed the “Kentucky Energy Efficiency Program for Schools” (KEEPS).Â
Â The state started withÂ two school systems.Â In 2010, all 174 Kentucky school districts were required to enroll, thanks to a stimulus fund grant.Â The grant provided money to hire regional coordinators and engineers to help districts with planning, training and technical issues.Â It is also providing much needed money to pay for energy efficient windows and lighting;Â Â hiring energy managers to conduct usage assessments and analyzeÂ utility bills.
One of the most popular innovations is teams of students who form teams of “energy police”.Â Â They make sure everyone, including teachers and administrtors are turning off lights and computers and unplugging appliances.Â “It’s pretty fun to catch teachers who forget to turn off their projectors or the lights.Â We’re like ‘Busted!’” said one fourth grader.
This is a win-win-win situation.Â The schools are getting improved facilities and saving money on utilities, the state is getting better than entry level jobs, the students are learning not only conseration and ecology, but responsibility.
Many other states are participating.Â California has 705 Energy Star schools, New York has 216.Â Indiana has 161.Â What about your state?