Getting ENERGY STAR Certified

Story by Aaron Presburg, 2014-15 CivicSpark Alum, Los Angeles Region

It has now been 10 months since I started my job as Energy Program Manager at Portland Public Schools and I am still learning something new every day (yes, the learning continues after CivicSpark). Back in August I was contacted by EPA’s ENERGY STAR Regional Program Manager asking if I would want to look into getting any of our schools certified. After looking into it, we discovered that 9 of our schools were already qualified for certification. For those of you who are not familiar with the certification – to receive this certification, a building must perform in the top 25% of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency, and meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA. ENERGY STAR schools use an average of 35% less energy, and also release 35% less carbon dioxide.

The process included hiring a licensed architect or engineer to walk through and verify the buildings’ energy use and mechanical systems. We ran into some peculiar problems with some of the data, but we kept at it and figured everything out. By November, we achieved certification. Then it was time to plan the celebration. We held a certification ceremony at one of the certified schools to celebrate the achievement. In attendance was the superintendent, Director of Facilities, principals from each certified schools, students, staff, and a representative from EPA’s ENERGY STAR program who presented the certificates to each school. It was great to see everyone excited about it after all the behind the scenes work I did for months and it was a little reminder of why I enjoy this work so much – it is very rewarding!

You can read the full story and press release here.