Sweet Home Central School District located in Erie County, New York educates over 3,500 students in school buildings representing more than 790,800 square feet of floor space. At Sweet Home, district administrators pride themselves on teaching students to be productive citizens while preparing them for success in those endeavors. Whether they plan to continue their education or enter the workforce, students will leave Sweet Home knowing how reading, writing, math, science, language, social studies, music, and art relate to their future. The district began participating in the ENERGY STAR program through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) Energy Smart Schools Program in 2004. The district has been an ENERGY STAR Partner since 2012.
Sweet Home Central School District has been recognized by EPA as an ENERGY STAR Leader for improving the energy efficiency of its facilities by more than 20 percent compared to a 2004 baseline and as a Top Performer for achieving an average ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 78 across its portfolio of buildings. Since initiating a major capital project in 2000, the district has made energy conservation and occupant safety and health a priority. By systemically replacing unit ventilators in each space with VAV systems including cooling capacity, the district vastly improved indoor air quality while increasing individual space control. At the same time, most heating plants were replaced with condensing boiler technology to allow the reduction of primary loop temperatures. These boilers significantly increased plant efficiencies while allowing less line losses due to reduced operating temperatures, across all firing rates. These major plant improvements were coupled with upgraded building management controls to allow for individual room scheduling and unoccupied room temperature setbacks. The funds saved from these initiatives are consistently used to help sustain and grow the district's rigorous academic programs. District staff members are dedicated to and passionate about pursuing resource conservation, and appreciate that the proceeds help support their students. Compared to its 2004 baseline, Sweet Home currently prevents the emissions of more than 740 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by more than 19,000 tree seedlings planted and grown for 10 years.
Since 2009, Sweet Home has earned the ENERGY STAR for five of its schools. Although very pleased with the progress thus far, the district is pursuing additional savings, especially at the nearly 300,000-square-foot high school. In late 2012-2013, district administrators will embark on a $5.3 million energy performance contract, with nearly $3 million dedicated to district-wide lighting upgrades. The district will also replace the last conventional heating plant at the high school with condensing boiler technology. Administrators strive to earn the ENERGY STAR for all facilities, and hope to achieve an ENERGY STAR score of 85 or higher at each building.