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Students to help West Chester businesses save energy, money and cut pollution

Release Date: 03/11/2010
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (March 11, 2010) In a ceremony today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $149,992 grant to the West Chester Area School District for a project to help local businesses conserve energy, save money and cut harmful greenhouse gases.

The District’s Student Conservation Corps, made up of high school students concerned about the environment, will encourage and teach area businesses simple, no-cost measures to achieve 10 percent reductions in their energy usage and emissions of greenhouse gases. The project is one of 20 nationwide funded by EPA to showcase how communities are fighting climate change.

“EPA is proud to support students who are taking responsibility for the future of our environment,” said Shawn M. Garvin, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “Their efforts to engage businesses in conserving energy will have pay offs economically and for the larger community by improved air quality.”

The district already has an energy efficiency program, started and implemented by students, in operation in its 16 school buildings. The district spends $3 million a year for electricity. Last year, B. Reed Henderson High School, where today’s ceremony was held, used $300,000 of electricity. Now, as a result of its “Power Down Fridays” program the school has reduced its energy use by 22 percent – saving the taxpayers $60,000 annually.

Dr. Jim Scanlon, the district’s Superintendent, expressed excitement about this grant and in particular the way it is structured. “Our students are a great resource for ideas and care so much about the future of our community. That’s why they’re a key part of the implementation strategy.”

As a part of this EPA-funded project, the district plans to broaden its conservation efforts district-wide to achieve an additional 10 percent cut in energy use and greenhouse gases. Preliminary calculations estimate that by 2012 about 1,960 metric tons of greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions will be reduced annually through efforts by the businesses and the school district.

EPA will monitor the progress of grant recipients and will post quarterly updates about each recipient online.

More information on the grants and the grant recipients: http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/local/showcase/

More information about the program: http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate, and visit the website of the West Chester Area School District: http://www.wcasd.net