Ohio leads the country in LEED-certified schools

Ohio tops the list as the state with the most LEED-certified K-12 schools, more than twice as many as second-place California, Columbus Business First reports. “We have a staggering number of projects in Ohio,” said Roger Platt, President of the U.S. Green Building Council, the group that runs the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification program. In 2007, the state School Facilities Commission, now called the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, “began using the LEED for Schools rating system,” requiring state-funded school buildings to “use the standard for their exterior and interior designs, with a focus on reducing energy costs and consumption,” according to the article. Lisa Laney, sustainability administrator for the commission, said, “No other state is doing what we’re doing. We’re completely going through our school districts and either helping them renovate or build new. That’s why we have so many.” The commission offers districts “funding that is variable depending on their wealth,” so some schools with fewer resources “may be asked to cover just a sliver of the construction costs.” For more, read the full article.

Energy Efficiency, Green Schools, Project Finance, Sustainability

University of Cincinnati’s Green Bonds sale will be first by U.S. public university

As part of its plan to renovate Scioto Hall, the University of Cincinnati (UC) will become the first public university in the nation to issue Green Bonds when it brings $29 million in the bonds to market during the first week of December, reports Cincinnati.com. Green Bonds, a new municipal bond market product, “are used to fund environmentally friendly projects,” according to the article. UC’s Green Bonds will fund part of the estimated $35 million residence hall renovation, which features 2,000 energy-efficient glass panels cladding the building, energy-efficient mechanical systems, “[a]n energy-recovery system designed to capture exhaust heat to improve heating,” and “LED lighting bulbs and fixtures.” In the article, UC president Santa Ono said, "We continue to expand our commitment to sustainability through our academic master plan and the university's Creating Our Third Century goals. Green bonds are a natural next step in our efforts to foster a deliberate and responsible approach to our environment." For more, read the full article.

Green Schools, Sustainability

Energy conservation program saves Medina schools 43 percent in energy costs

The Medina school district has saved over $500,000 this year through a program that reduces unnecessary energy use, reports Cleveland.com. “At night, the lights in the parking lot are turned off unless there’s an activity. On the weekends and during school breaks, whole sections of the school sit idle in energy-saving mode,” according to the article. Jon Burkhart, Medina school district’s director of business affairs, said, “A great way to save dollars is through energy use. We’ve tightened things up so we’re not wasting money.” Improvements including indoor lighting upgrades, demand control ventilation, building automation system upgrades and more were made possible by Ohio House Bill 264, which “allows school districts to borrow limited amounts of money for efficiency improvements without asking taxpayers to pass a ballot issue,” the article reports. Other changes include motion sensors that turn lights on only when rooms are in use and variable frequency drives for the heating and air conditioning systems that keep fans from running all the time. For more, read the full article.  

Energy Efficiency, Green Schools

Ohio school districts invest in energy efficiency for long-term savings

Ohio school districts in Lake Township and Tipp City have received returns on projects to increase their energy efficiency. The Suburbanite reports that Lake Local School district reduced its energy use by 36.2 percent and received an award from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Battle of the Buildings competition, placing third in the country. The school system upgraded lighting, replaced a steam boiler system with a hot water boiler system, and added more efficient HVAC controls as part of their energy makeover. Tipp City schools’ “energy conservation projects utilized automation, integration, advanced energy management and control strategies” as part of their $1 million project, according to the Dayton Daily News. Tipp City saw a “savings of $157,040 in natural gas and electric bills between July 2013 and June 2014,” according to the article. For more, read the full Suburbanite and Dayton Daily News articles. 

Energy Efficiency, Green Schools

OSU and AEP Energy installing university’s largest solar array on top of main gym

The Ohio State University (OSU) and AEP Energy have started construction on a 101-kilowatt solar array on the roof of OSU’s Recreation and Physical Activities Center, according to a Columbus Business First article. The array of 367 solar panels “arranged in the school’s signature Block-O logo” will be the university’s largest, and will provide some electricity to the main gym. According to the article, “[AEP Energy] is providing all the labor and materials and is supplying the electricity to Ohio State at 4 cents per kilowatt for the next eight years. Then, both sides will decide whether to renew.” The article also notes that OSU has a few solar arrays in off-campus locations, but “none as centrally located” as this one, between the Ohio Stadium and the school’s main library. For more, read the full article.

Green Schools, Renewable Energy, Solar