Burke County Public Schools in North Carolina educates 13,500 students on 26 school campuses representing approximately 2,500,000 square feet of floor space. The district's mission is to educate diverse learners, nurture their potential, and empower them to be competitive, successful, and productive citizens. Burke County Public Schools views energy efficiency as both an important opportunity to teach students about environmental protection as well as a way to reduce operating costs. As a result, the school district strives to conserve energy to maximize the funds available for instructional programs and to educate every student and staff member of all the environmental benefits of energy efficiency. Participation in the ENERGY STAR program has provided the school district with many valuable resources and ideas that enable us to meet our energy goals and ensure that Burke County Public Schools are demonstrating good stewardship toward our resources and environment.
Burke County Public Schools has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leaders Top Performer for achieving a portfolio-wide energy performance rating of 83. Over the past year the district has avoided more than 3,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of planting more than 700 acres of trees. On a cost basis, this represents savings of more than $1 million for the first year. These savings were achieved using a teamwork concept utilizing all school staff as well as students. Each person contributed to the total savings in their own area of responsibility such as students monitoring lights, staff monitoring temperatures to the thermostat set points and even monitoring irrigation of the playing fields. There was also an increased focus on the maintenance of all energy systems and equipment to ensure maximum efficiency.