School and City Officials Visit Lankenau High School to Announce Energy Efficiency Pilot Program

PHILADELPHIA –  Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, Councilman Bobby Henon, Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and representatives of labor met at Lankenau High School today to announce the launch of an energy efficiency pilot program.

“The purpose of this energy pilot program is to determine if targeted energy investments through capital investments in our schools achieve enough savings to fund recurring capital improvements,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “This type of investment in our facilities can have short and long term benefits — and the pilot program will allow us to go about this in a smart way. This is part of our overall belief that all schools can be great.”

“When City Council announced the 10-Year Philadelphia Energy Campaign last year, we envisioned an energy efficiency program that would make buildings across our city, including School District facilities, more sustainable,” Council President Darrell L. Clarke said. “The pilot program we are announcing today could yield up to $345 million in new funding, comes at no additional cost to taxpayers, and could result in as much as $600 million in energy savings over 20 years for the District. I’m excited about this holistic approach to addressing capital and budgetary needs that benefits our school children and District personnel.”

“The School District has been an amazing collaborative partner in our Energy Campaign efforts,” said Emily Schapira, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Energy Authority. “These capital projects will improve District facilities and yield cost savings for our schools. The Philadelphia Energy Authority is excited to work with the School District toward a model that other Districts around the country can emulate.”

This pilot program is designed to create a model for schools across the District to improve indoor environmental quality and building conditions. It will start in fall 2017 at three schools within the District.  While the three schools have not been selected yet, the announcement event took place at Lankenau High School because the school has a solid leadership team that’s focused on energy efficiency.

The School District also intends to measure the energy efficiency across the $1.1 billion planned capital program.

In addition, the District completed and released a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) about two months ago for Lankenau and all of its school buildings. The FCA provides guidance and data on needed capital investments. The pilot program will provide another layer of vital information specific to energy efficiency. For instance, boilers, windows, insulation, lighting, HVAC systems and more could be enhanced through this program to revitalize District infrastructure and the improvements can pay for themselves.

The overall goal of the pilot program includes the following objectives:

  • Improved building conditions that support teaching and learning;
  • Target investment in critical building systems beyond systems life expectancy;
  • Reduced utility costs and more efficient building systems;
  • Reduced environmental footprint;
  • Return on investment.

The criteria for schools to be selected to the pilot program include the following:

  • The school will be operating for the foreseeable future;
  • Current school Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is below 50;
  • Higher enrollment preferred (percentage of building occupancy);
  • Longer operating hours preferred for better energy savings (summer/after school programs);
  • Major building systems need to be repaired or replaced and assess feasibility of bundling with other capital equipment projects;
  • School level leadership support;
  • School presently has or in the past had an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issue or deferred maintenance that could be addressed;
  • Substantial savings to the District based on the size of the building and energy consumption;
  • Other social and educational criteria is appropriate for program to take place.

This effort has the potential to be very successful because of all of its partnerships. Having the support of City Council President Clarke, Councilman Henon, Councilman Jones, the Philadelphia Energy Authority, and members of the local labor community means the School District, under the leadership of Superintendent Hite and School Reform Commission Chair Joyce Wilkerson, is positioned to make significant changes that can improve the educational experience for students across the city.