Maine DEP Grants Schools Funding For Energy Efficiency Efforts

May 9, 2011

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson/Director of Education & Outreach samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov/ 287-5842 (office) or 592-0427 (cell)

-The grants will support student-led efforts to integrate energy conservation measures in their schools and also fund energy use tracking overseen by school facilities managers-

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is awarding grants to five student groups to pursue energy conservation measures in their schools and to seven school facilities managers for energy use tracking.

Five grants of approximately $850 each will go to support student-led efforts at Aucocisco School in South Portland, Hanson Elementary School in Lebanon, Lincoln Academy in Newscastle, Lincoln Middle School in Portland and Oak Hill Middle School in Sabattus.

Funding for the grants comes from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and is administered as part of the Maine Green Schools Program, a collaborative partnership between the Maine DEP and the Maine Energy Education Program (supported by Efficiency Maine) that provides tools and training for students who want to do energy efficiency improvement service learning projects in their schools.

Grants were given to proposed projects that demonstrated a strong return on the investment, included an educational component to foster further awareness at the school, had a plan for quick implementation and were supported with a strong commitment from school officials.

Proposed projects awarded funding include:

Aucocisco School, South Portland - After examining various ways to conserve energy, Kathy Tarpo’s middle school students concluded that improving the weatherization of the roof would best contribute to a more energy efficient school. The grant will fund additional insulation for their attic.

Hanson Elementary School, Lebanon - Clair Ledue and Susan Devito’s excel environmental classes will be awarded funds for the installation of 19 occupancy sensors that will automatically turn off lights when rooms are not in use. The students will also be consulting with local middle and high school students on other ideas for improving the environmental friendliness of their respective schools.

Lincoln Academy, Newcastle - Charles Scimone’s Climate Change Action Club will be awarded funds to purchase and install new high efficiency hand dryers, replacing aged models with higher energy consumption. Lincoln Academy offered to match the distributed funds to further improve the school’s efficiency.

Lincoln Middle School, Portland - Rob Lindsay’s science classes will be awarded grant money for the installation and purchase of new high efficiency hand dryers. The team carried out extensive research and after a performing a cost/benefit analysis, decided to purchase the Dyson Airblade, which uses less electricity per use than any other hand dryer on the market and will result in a decreased use of paper towels. The science classes have also received matched funding from KIDS Consortium for additional dryers.

Oak Hill Middle School, Sabattus - Heather Lambert and Bates College intern Meghan Fahey’s students will be awarded money for implementation of their multi-pronged energy efficiency project. The students looked at the school’s energy usage and where it could be improved and after extensive research and data analysis found that installation of motion sensors, CFLs for task lighting (to reduce the overhead light use) and improving the weatherization would be the best fixes for improving school-wide energy efficiency.

“These grants are the culmination of a project including intensive data collection and analysis, outreach and awareness campaigns to the school community and reporting,” said Beth Otto, Maine Green Schools Program coordinator. “This is a wonderful real-world learning process that also helps to forge a lasting change in the energy culture of the school and community.”

The Maine Green Schools Program partnership is also awarding grants of $1,400 each to facility managers who have already made great strides in improving their school’s energy efficiency at the following schools/districts: Region Two School of Applied Technology in Houlton, MSAD 53 in Pittsfield, RSU 3 in Unity, Oxford Hills Schools District, Waterville Public Schools, the Brunswick School Department and MSAD 33 in Frenchville.

Those funds, which are managed by the Efficiency Maine Trust, will support continued tracking of energy use in their buildings, a process that will enable facility managers to compare electricity and fuel use data from year-to-year and quickly identify problems and verify savings from energy efficiency investments.

For more information about the Maine Green Schools Program grants, visit http://www.meepnews.org or go to http://www.mainedep.com for a Maine Green School Energy Self Audit Guide.

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