JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County Public Schools recently received the Florida Green School District Award for leading the way in energy-saving efforts.
The Florida Green School Network recognized the school district's operations team, green schools and the Green Champions, according to a news release from Duval Schools spokesperson Jill Johnson.
The Florida Green School Network is a partnership between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Health, Florida's Foundation and the Sustainable Florida Program.
More than 42,000 students, teachers and administrators participated in this year's green schools initiative. The initiatives generated more than $20 million in gross cost savings for Florida's schools. This doubles the number from last year, which was $10.8 million.
The initiatives launched included green service learning projects, using organic and sustainable energy sources, recycling programs and efforts to make school buildings and facilities more sustainable.
Director of Facilities for Duval Schools, Susan Carew, accepted the award on behalf of the school district, Johnson said.
Carew said, "It's great to be a part of a district where being 'green' sparks creative ways for students to conserve energy and the environment. Green practices teach students early on about the importance of their health and our environment's health."
Also receiving recognition by the Florida Green School Network is Sandalwood High School. The school was one of the top three finalists in the "green" school category. Johnson said in addition to a plaque, the district also brought home a $1,500 award. Sandalwood received a $250 award.
Johnson said thanks to the partnership between the district and the schools energy costs have been reduced more than 30%. By saving money on utilities, the district can spend more money for student learning.
Paul Soares, Chief Officer of Operations Support, said, "Our students are our greatest resource, particularly when it comes to conserving energy. I am very proud of Ms. Carew and all of the work she and her team have led to earn this award and recognition."
Individually, Susan Carew is being recognized by being featured on the cover of the November issue of Facilities Today. In the issue, Johnson said Carew shares how green efforts such as light sensors, rain buckets and recycling programs have saved the district millions of dollars. She also discusses how she allows the schools to be creative allowing them the freedom to come up with ideas that are unique to each individual school.
Johnson said Carew shares the best part of the green efforts is when there is a positive impact on the environment, students and the district's budget.
First Coast News