Beat Blog

by Better Buildings Beat Team on May 28, 2020
At the 2020 Green Schools Conference and Expo, DOE’s Better Buildings team hosted a panel with Challenge partner Poudre School District and a representative from the State of Tennessee’s Energy Efficiency Schools Initiative to share resources and successes about energy efficiency in rural K-12...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Mar 29, 2019
For K-12 schools in the US, energy bills represent the second highest operating expense behind salaries. By optimizing lighting systems (equipment and operations), schools can unlock lighting energy savings of up to 50%. That’s a lot of savings from one system! There are many opportunities to...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Mar 28, 2019
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) took visitors on a tour to see firsthand the improvements made at the Santee Educational Complex—one of the district’s showcase projects. Maria T. Vargas, Director of DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative, toured the complex alongside LAUSD staff, students,...
by Jen Singer, ICF on Dec 10, 2018
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), a Better Buildings Challenge partner, was announced as a winner of the 3rd-annual Zero Net Energy (ZNE) School Leadership Award at the Green California Schools and Community Colleges Summit. The award was presented by the New Buildings Institute in...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Dec 03, 2018
The 10 most-viewed resources from the past month include partner solutions from Bullitt County Public Schools, Stevens Institute of Technology, and Trinity Management as well as strategies for green revolving funds, water efficiency, outdoor lighting, commercial solar PV, and more. Check them out...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Nov 15, 2018
On November 13, 2018 representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) traveled to Shepherdsville, Kentucky to recognize Better Buildings Challenge partner Bullitt County Public Schools for its energy productivity advances. Director of DOE's Better Buildings Challenge Maria Vargas visited...
by Jen Singer, ICF on Aug 08, 2018
On August 3, a panel of Better Buildings Challenge K-12 school partners spoke to a room of over 40 attendees at the APPA: Leadership in Educational Facilities annual conference held in Washington, D.C. Presenting on the topic of how energy efficiency fits into the modernization of facilities, the...
by Jen Singer, ICF on May 21, 2018
On April 4, 2018, Montgomery County, Maryland held its 5th annual energy summit on the topic of sustainability in the greater community. DOE Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) K-12 Schools Lead Crystal McDonald moderated a panel entitled “Stepping on the EUI Scale: Fine Tuning Energy Efficiency in K...
by Jen Singer, ICF on May 21, 2018
Three Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) K-12 school partners participated in a panel at the Green Schools Conference and Expo on May 4 in Denver. The panel, entitled “Benchmarking for Books: How Schools Save Money through Benchmarking” featured presentations by the Los Angeles Unified School...
by Jen Singer, ICF on Apr 20, 2018
Poudre School District, located in Fort Collins, Colorado, partnered with ReNew Our Schools, a local non-profit organization to launch a month-long student competition to spur innovation and excitement around energy efficiency and sustainability. Sixteen of the district’s 50 schools competed in...
by Jen Singer, ICF on Dec 05, 2017
On October 26, DOE held a webinar to explore the issue of transportation fleet conversion for K-12 school districts. K-12 school sustainability conversations are growing beyond energy-efficient buildings to include fuel-efficient school transit systems. School bus fleet conversions have been...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Sep 27, 2017
Imagine going back to school in very comfortable classrooms with high indoor air quality – that’s what’s happening for thousands of students in the Fontana Unified School District (FUSD) in San Bernardino County, California, thanks to a fleet of over 200 new rooftop units (RTUs) conditioning their...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Sep 01, 2017
Students are heading back to school, which means spending money on supplies, books, and all the other essentials. But schools can save money by unlocking their energy savings potential. Zero-energy schools can use up to 80 percent less energy than conventional schools; DOE’s Monica Kanojia at the...
by Jen Singer, ICF on Aug 03, 2017
On July 19, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the 2017 Green Ribbon Schools awardees, recognizing two Better Buildings Challenge partners and one Zero Energy Schools Accelerator partner for their sustainability efforts and ecologically-minded student engagement. Fairfax County Public Schools...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 14, 2017
How does the second largest school district in the country target energy waste, while improving the learning environment for students? The Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LA Unified) first Better Buildings Showcase Project explores the work underway to upgrade their biggest energy-consumer...
by Jen Singer, ICF on May 05, 2017
Three Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) K-12 School partners recently participated in a panel at the 2017 Green Schools Conference & Expo in Atlanta, entitled “Follow the Leaders: What Leading K-12 Schools Have Learned When it Comes to Energy,” to share best practices in energy efficiency...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Mar 27, 2017
Kentucky’s Bullitt County Public School District (BCPS) has experienced a lot of expansion and growth system-wide, adding 600,000 square feet of new space in the last decade alone. Even the older buildings are expanding! For example, Mt. Washington Elementary was originally built in 1974, with 51,...
by Alison Berry, JDM Associates on Mar 16, 2017
Increasingly, K-12 schools across the country provide learning opportunities in unexpected places, with new, exciting subject matter such as energy efficiency. For instance our Better Buildings Challenge K-12 partners are implementing innovative, educational energy practices across their campuses...
by Jen Singer, ICF International on Dec 15, 2016
Better Buildings Challenge K-12 Schools partner Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS), located in northern Florida, has launched one of the country’s most innovative solar leasing programs. The feed-in tariff (FIT) program is a public-private partnership which allows private investors to lease...
by Monica Kanojia, The Hannon Group, Better Buildings Iniative on Dec 08, 2016
Education serves as the foundation of a strong and resilient society. While educators and curriculums contribute greatly to the success of the student body, it has become progressively apparent that the built environment also has an impact on not just energy but also student performance. The power...
by Sapna Gheewala, U.S. Department of Energy, ORISE Fellow on Dec 07, 2016
With over 25 school districts signed up for the Better Buildings Challenge, covering 15,000 buildings and over 225 million square feet, our partners have taken on and overcome various barriers to advancing clean energy goals. K-12 School Districts across the country continue to face student...
by Sapna Gheewala, U.S. Department of Energy, ORISE Fellow on Jul 25, 2016
Camas School District implemented a centralized natural resource policy to promote the value of sustainability, prioritize reduction goals, and establish a framework for school staff to measure building energy efficiency improvements. The Camas School District united school officials, faculty,...
by Jen Singer, ICF International on Jul 07, 2016
Portland Public Schools (PPS) made it easy to fund energy efficiency upgrades without compromising a limited capital budget reserved for emergency needs. The district created a two-pronged approach. It would combine recovery zone economic development bonds for smaller, owner managed projects with...
by Jen Singer, ICF International on Mar 21, 2016
Douglas County School District (DCSD) is the sixth largest district in the State of Nevada serving over 6,000 students across 11 schools. The district implemented a multi-pronged financing approach to implement energy savings measures to address its aging school facilities, increasing utility...
by Crystal McDonald on Aug 13, 2015
This week the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge director Maria T. Vargas braved the heat and visited Kingswood Elementary in Surprise, Arizona. The school is the showcase project of K-12 partner, Dysart Unified School District (USD). This was the first K-12 school that the Better...
by Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 02, 2015
Heidi Burkart, operations coordinator and energy manager for Camas School District in Washington state and K-12 goal achiever answered our 5 questions; here are her answers: What's one piece of advice you’d like to give to a new partner? Set high goals and expectations for your staff and your...