By Jeff Noble / Staff writer
Presentations on ways the Laurel County Schools can save energy in their facilities, and how the schools in the district did and what they’re doing to improve after the recent K-PREP test scores, were the focus of Monday’s special meeting of the Laurel County Board of Education.
The school system’s Energy Manager, John McNeil, told the board he’s been to each school four to five times, to get a better understanding of the school’s energy needs. McNeil added he’s collecting data for the Energy Star program — the international standard for energy efficient products and devices created in 1992 by the U. S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Devices and products carrying the Energy Star trademark generally use 20-30 percent less energy than what’s required by federal standards.
“There’s 19 buildings I’ve evaluated for the Energy Star Program, totaling over one million square feet. Eleven of them have geothermal systems. Everything’s in place. It just needs a change of mind to be there,” said McNeil, who is also Energy Manager for the Corbin Independent and Williamsburg Independent school systems.
He added three buildings in Laurel County Schools are up for eligibility in Energy Star, and will apply Energy Star status. One is Laurel Day Treatment, the oldest building in the district, which scored 87 out of 100. Another one is Campground Elementary School, scoring a 76 out of 100. The third building up for eligibility is Laurel Central Office.
“To be an Energy Star, you have to score a 75 or higher on a scale of zero to 100. It’s all about the little things. Turning the smart boards off. Turning the lights off. …You need to get a recognition program going. Something to get the students and staff involved in energy savings. Once we get them in the programs, the difference will be tremendous. … My goal is five percent savings the first year,” said McNeil.
Earlier in the meeting, displays of how the individual schools in the district on the recent test scores were set up, staffed by the schools’ principals, assistants, teachers and site-based decision making council members. Superintendent Doug Bennett said it was the first time all of them were together at a board meeting in recent memory.
Board members did approve adoption of the agenda, which will consider accepting a Walmart Distribution Center grant of $1,000 for North Laurel High School, and consider approval of a $5,000 grant application by Keavy Elementary’s Family Resource Center, among other agenda items. Since Monday’s special meeting was a work session, there were discussions on the agenda, but no motions were made. Board members will take up approving the agenda during their next board meeting in December.