November 12, 2018 – Portland Public Schools has been chosen by the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council(USGBC) as one of only five districts nationally to receive a School District Scholarship for the coming year. Portland Public Schools will receive ongoing support from the Center over the course of the next year and will benefit from connections and resource sharing with a broad network of school sustainability leaders.
“The District is very excited and honored to be awarded this scholarship. We look forward to participating in various conferences and workshops and to share best practices around sustainability in our schools with other districts across the country. We hope to bring back a fresh perspective so that we can start implementing even more programs here at PPS” – Aaron Presberg, Senior Program Manager of Energy and Sustainability.
“Through words and actions, the leadership and staff at Portland Public Schools have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and a strong foundation to benefit from all that the school district scholarship program provides,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “Through the scholarship program, Portland Public Schools will make significant strides toward its goal to provide schools that are both healthy for people and the planet, as well as teach students the principles of sustainability and stewardship. Its staff will benefit from a strong national network of support as well as educational opportunities and one-on-one coaching. Portland Public Schools is already a leader in the green schools movement. Through this program, they will keep their leading edge.”
Green schools can significantly lower district operating costs, putting money back into classrooms. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that improving specific aspects of a student’s classroom environment like daylight, air quality, and noise levels leads to better memory, attention, concentration, task speed and more. The School District Scholarship program allows administrators to evaluate and plan for changes system wide and to elevate the level of the conversation in their communities regarding green school design and operation.
February 10, 2017 - Nine schools in the Portland Public Schools district (PPS) were recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for achieving ENERGY STAR certification. To receive this certification, a building must perform in the top 25% of similar facilities nationawide for energy efficiency, and meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA. ENERGY STAR schools use an everage of 35% less energy, and also release 35% less carbon dioxide.
The PPS Schools earning the rating are: Benson Polytechnic High School, Wilson High School, Cleveland High School, Stephenson Elementary School, Chapman Elementary School, James John Elementary School, Chief Joseph Elementary, Sunnyside Environmental K-8, and Richmond Elementary School.
PPS improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire organization through a number of cost-effective investments:
- Installing Direct Digital Control and building automation retrofits, which save energy by remotely controlling heating and ventilation in separate sections of schools;
- Replacing steam valves and steam traps;
- Insulating hot water pipes;
- Upgrading to more efficient lighting systems and controls.
Additional energy savings came through behavioral conservation by turning lights off and using natural lighting, and also powering off computers and small appliances when not in use. Improved operations and maintenance, such as adjusting temperature setr points, has also helped PPS save energy in schools. Since July 2014, PPS has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from 615 households for a year, and has saved $500,000 in energy costs.
To learn more about the ENERGY STAR program, visit https://www.energystar.gov/
During the 2015-2016 school year, PPS is partnering with Portland General Electric and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to bring solar power to six additional schools. Through the Solar 4R Schools program, teachers at these six schools can receive trainings on how to incorporate these solar projects into classroom lessons and also provide the school with a Science Kit for each grade level. We are also upgrading all energy kiosks in schools that give information on the solar projects. With the addition of these six projects, total renewable energy generation is nearly 2 megawatts of power, the most of any local government in the region.
The six schools are Arleta, Bridlemile, James John, Hosford, Laurelhurst, and Wilson.
PPS is a proud partner of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Challenge (BBC), committing to reduce our energy use by 20% by the year 2020. During the month of July, PPS was listed in the BBC's top 10 solutions, nationwide, for our implementation model. You can view our implementation model here and our BBC profile here.