Several schools in SCS push to save energy, recognized by EPA

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County Schools estimated by the time the school year ends, the district will have spent about $27.5 million on energy bills.

"Energy is the second greatest expense for the district after people," said SCS Energy Manager Anthony Wright.

Craigmont High School was the first of 10 schools in the district to receive an Energy Star certification from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The school hung its certificate in the front office Wednesday.

That means the school submitted its building and energy information and got a good energy score.

The scores ranged from one to 100.

Schools that received a 75 or better receive Energy Star certifications.

Craigmont got a 90, and it's all thanks in part to the new technology that was installed a couple years ago.

Craigmont received a new air conditioning system and sensors that turned lights off in major areas when nobody was there.

Still, even more credit went to the school's Green Team of students that Media Specialist Elain Shearin oversees.

"The areas that we're concentrating in right now would be the light sources and also the heating and air," Shearin said.

The students on Green Team conductedtheir own energy audits and made recommendations to the school about what needed to change to up energy efficiency.

Shearin said she understands the process may have been time-consuming, but she said it saved money.

She said one light in just one office could cost 27 cents per hour.

Green Schools Project Leader Tracy Leaks trained 31 green teams this year for the district, and hoped to double or triple that number going forward.

"If every Shelby County School gets on board, that's millions," Leaks said.

Wright estimated that about 25% of SCS schools had qualifying scores for Energy Star, but it cost too much money to have audit scores verified.

He said he hoped to submit more schools for consideration in years to come.

Here are the SCS schools who qualified for Energy Star certifications:

Central High School- 79
Cordova High School- 96
Craigmont High School- 90
Cummings Elementary School- 93
Double Tree Elementary School- 98
Keystone Elementary School- 82
Lowrance Elementary School- 95
Magnolia Elementary School- 76
Southwind Elementary School- 92
Southwind High School- 94

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