The U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded 12 Kyrene schools with the Energy Star distinction, an annual award based off a system to determine energy efficiency.
Only 49 K-12 schools in Arizona received the distinction and any public school can apply for it. The award is based on the evaluation of five factors, which must be surveyed by a registered engineer or architect.
The five factors are square footage, number of students, number of computers, weather/outside variables, and whether or not they have cooking kitchens at the school.
When a school is evaluated, it receives a number from 1 to 100 based on these factors and if a school receives more than 75 points, it garners the award.
"We represent almost 25 percent of all the awards in Arizona, so that's a huge accomplishment," Kyrene CFO Karin Smith said at Tuesday's governing board meeting. "We are going to be very focused on getting all our schools to Energy Star status and maintaining that status."
The rest of the 26 campuses in the Kyrene School District, including the administration office, were not far behind. The lowest score throughout the campuses was 60 points.
Kyrene will be using funds from the 2010 bond initiative to continue to improve schools in areas such as lighting, technological upgrades, chiller equipment and energy management. Administration is also preaching awareness to turn equipment off when not in use.
In her presentation to the governing board, Smith said the upgrades that have been installed over the past five years will now save the district $500,000 in its annual utility budget.
"If we continue down this path that's more money freed up for other priorities within the district," she said.
Each school received a plaque to be hung up in the office that says it is nationally recognized as an Energy Star school.
The following schools received the award: Kyrene Centennial Middle School; Kyrene de la Esperanza Elementary School; Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School; Kyrene de las Lomas Elementary School; Kyrene del Norte Elementary School; Kyrene de las Manitas Elementary School; Kyrene del Milenio Elementary School; Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary School; Kyrene de la Paloma Elementary School; Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School; Kyrene de la Sierra Elementary School; and Kyrene del Sureño Elementary School.