Months after honoring Claiborne Elementary School in Baton Rouge for cutting nearly in half its energy usage, the EPA is yet again promoting Claiborne’s energy-conserving prowess.
The federal agency’s Energy Star program is pointing to Claiborne as one of 15 commercial buildings nationwide that over the past 15 years — since the implementation of Energy Star — has cut its energy use by at least 15 percent in one year.
This list of 15 buildings was posted online by EPA late in October as part of a nationwide push to get more buildings Energy Star certified. The East Baton Rouge Parish school system called attention to the new recognition for Claiborne on Wednesday in a news release.
Claiborne was first recognized in April after beating out thousands of other buildings across the nation in Energy Star’s annual Battle of the Buildings competition.
The elementary school, which has more than 650 kids enrolled, won for lowering its energy usage from 2012 to 2013 by 45.9 percent. EPA estimated the school’s annual utility bill shrunk by roughly $115,000 as a result and that nearly 500 tons worth of greenhouse gases were not emitted.
Aramark is charged with finding ways to conserve energy as part of its facilities maintenance contract with the parish school system. The Philadelphia-based company focused on Claiborne because it’s a new facility — the north Baton Rouge school was rebuilt and reopened in August 2011 — that was using a lot of energy.
“It’s a big school with big utility bills,” said Sandra Lizcano, who leads an energy conservation team for Aramark in Baton Rouge.
In a one-page case study, EPA describes the many steps taken at Claiborne in 2013 to cut down on energy usage: controlling heating and lighting levels when rooms are unoccupied; using only as many chillers and hot water boilers as needed to keep temperature and humidity in check; and automatically adjusting the amount of fresh air intake throughout the day.
Claiborne officials also held frequent energy conservation awareness presentations laying out steps that students and teachers could take to save energy. Those steps include adjusting thermostats, keeping doors and windows closed when cooling or heating systems are operating, and making sure all electronic devices in their classrooms are shut off at the end of the day.
Lizcano said her team is taking its efforts to other schools but is not forgetting Claiborne.
“The big thing is to maintain the savings we have achieved there,” she said.