Knox County Schools receive state recognition

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SUBMITTED) -- The Knox County School System and South-Doyle Middle Schools have each been awarded an Honorable Mention from the State of Tennessee in the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.

In a joint effort with one of their Partners In Education - Trane, the Knox County School System is making major strides in energy conservation and environmental stewardship, and South- Doyle Middle School students are showing our community how low impact development can make a difference in our community.

The Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards are the most prestigious environmental and conservation awards in the state. For over 20 years, the awards have been presented to individuals and organizations that make great contributions to the conservation of our wildlife and related natural resources, the natural elements upon which all life depends.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding achievement, successful environmental projects and conservation measures, and to promote leadership by example. The awards also bring about a greater understanding and awareness of environmental and conservation practices and projects.

The school system project will include infrastructure improvements; such as, lighting and water system upgrades, building automation installations and heating, ventilation and air conditioning system replacements. The project is completely funded by using guaranteed energy and operating cost savings through a Performance Agreement for Comfort (PACTä) with Trane. The project was started in late 2007, and will be concluded around the beginning of the 2008 – 2009 school year.

“We are guaranteed to save more than $700,000 in energy costs annually while improving students’ learning environment,” said Jim French, Knox County Schools maintenance supervisor. This is one of the largest energy efficiency projects ever instituted by a public school system in the state of Tennessee. We have an annual utility cost of over $12 million, and this type of savings will greatly reduce the impact of utilities on our operating cost.”

The project also results in an annual carbon dioxide reduction of 16,629,086 pounds, an annual sulfur dioxide reduction of 100,250 pounds and an annual nitrous oxide reduction of 28,796 pounds. This is equivalent to saving 2,910 trees, taking 15 cars off the road and saving 2,612 gallons of gasoline annually.

“We applaud the Knox County School System for their vision to fund infrastructure improvements through energy conservation and create an enhanced learning environment for the children of Knox County. We are proud to be selected as their partner in this process. Our goal is to make it a “showcase” project for both Trane and Knox County Schools”, said Jeff Watson, Vice President of Trane’s commercial business in the Southeast Territory.

The schools receiving needed infrastructure upgrades are: Gibbs High, Farragut High, Bearden Middle, Vine Middle, Farragut Middle, Farragut Intermediate, Ball Camp Elementary, Karns Elementary, Spring Hill Elementary, Mount Olive Elementary, and Sequoyah Elementary.

Students in Dave Gorman’s science class at South-Doyle Middle School, in coordination with the Adopt-A-Watershed program and the Water Quality Forum at UT, were also recognized for their work on Low Impact Development.

“We put together a presentation on Low Impact Development,” said Gorman. “Students in my science classes studied five different low impact developments and put together presentations on each. Our presentations included posters, flyers, power point presentations, and scale models. Students then traveled to the City County building and presented our work to the public. The five areas of LID's that we researched were: previous paving; green roofs; rain barrels; rain gardens; and grassy swales.”

“The work accomplished by Mr. Gorman and his students is an excellent example of how to bring the relevance of what our students are learning, addressing problems our community faces on a daily basis,” said Roy Mullins, interim superintendent for Knox County Schools. “Mr. Gorman and his students went the extra mile on this project, and they richly deserve the recognition they have received.”

(Information submitted by Knox County Schools.

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