KY Schools save millions thanks to smart energy use

Grayson County Schools exemplify what’s possible

Staff Report

Using energy-efficient tactics like LED lighting and precise temperature controls, 36 Kentucky school districts working with Louisville-based Harshaw Trane have saved more than $22 million in energy costs since 2000. That amount could buy 110,000 Chromebook laptops for student use, as one example.

This savings frees up resources in school budgets for academic investments—while at the same time creating more comfortable learning environments. For example, over the past 10 years, Bullitt County Schools have saved more than $4 million, even while adding facilities that amounted to 50 percent more floor space. This savings freed up funds for academic needs: teachers, assistants, wi-fi hotspots, and Chromebooks.

In Grayson County, for example, the school district has saved more than $1.6 million by working on a variety of efficiency factors, including mechanical updates in each school.

In Logan County, meanwhile, the schools have saved more than $1.3 million over the past 15 years, by working with Harshaw Trane.

“Every penny we save in energy cost is a penny that the schools can use for educating our students,” said Logan County’s Director of Operations Ben Kemplin. “Those pennies add up! We want to be good stewards of our funds, and at the same time, teach our children to conserve energy and resources for future use.”

According to the EPA, more than 40 percent of all energy used in the United States goes to heating and cooling buildings—usually through fossil fuels, which are non-renewable, create greenhouse gases and harm air quality. Improving school building efficiency not only saves taxpayer money, but means quality of life enhancements for entire communities.

Harshaw Trane, an expert in optimizing building performance, has helped Kentucky schools make smart decisions on energy use throughout their buildings, producing significant savings while also creating a more comfortable and safe environment for students. In honor of Earth Week, Harshaw Trane calculated the impact of these combined efforts statewide.

Since 2000, the Kentucky school districts working Harshaw Trane saved enough energy to:

· Drive 3,861 school buses or 65,000 cars for a year

· Charge nearly 24 million iPads annually

· Power all of the households in Owensboro and Henderson for a year, or about 38,000 homes.

“Seeing the combined impact of these schools and their energy efficiency work shows staggering results, and we’re proud to be part of our schools’ success stories,” said Ty Vierling, Energy Services Leader with Harshaw Trane. “These students are learning in safer, more comfortable and more energy-responsive buildings, and the districts benefit from the big savings created from smart energy usage. We’re helping communities use resources wisely, and they’re seeing the payoff.”

The changes help their communities, too, by reducing the amount of C02 released to the atmosphere. Since 2000, Harshaw Trane has helped Kentucky schools eliminate nearly 300,000 metric tons of C02. Several schools and districts have won awards from the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program for their efforts in reducing and managing energy use.

For example, just this year, Grayson County Schools, Greenup County Schools, Logan County Schools, and Hopkins County Schools have had buildings recognized as ENERGY STAR buildings, meaning they use 35 percent less energy than comparable buildings. These savings were realized after improvements like mechanical updates, gymnasium lighting retrofits, and web-based controls.

To learn more about opportunities for school districts, visit

Grayson County Schools exemplify what’s possible

Staff Report

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