Stamford, CT - Stamford Public Schools (SPS) was awarded the Power of Change Innovation Award for energy efficiency at ceremony at the State Capitol last week.
The 2014 Power of Change Awards celebrated the energy efficiency achievements of more than 20 Connecticut state agencies and municipalities. The winners received awards for their innovative initiatives and approaches to reducing energy spending and protecting the environment, efforts that benefit all Connecticut residents. State legislative leaders and members of the Power of Change Award committee were also on hand for the ceremony.
Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, addressed the gathering of more than 100 participants reinforcing the importance of energy efficiency, both as a cost saving measure, but also as a key way to reduce carbon emissions.
“The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use,” said Klee.
Charlie Benzyk, Stamford’s Energy Manager accepted the award on behalf of the Stamford Board of Education. Stamford earned the award for its completion of Scofield Magnet Middle School’s LED project, as well as for the supplementary energy upgrades throughout the district this year. Scofield is the first 100% LED school in the state of Connecticut and will reduce its energy consumption by 340,000 kWh each year for the 15 year life of the product. This translates to a savings of more than $70,000 per year in energy and operations and management costs.
This year, the Power of Change Awards added new categories to recognize individuals, state agencies and municipalities, not only for specific energy efficiency projects, but also for leadership and innovation that are making a sustainable and systemic difference in the state’s approach to reducing energy use. State facility managers, town leaders, boards of education and stakeholders entered energy efficiency projects in five award categories: Top Building, Innovation, Difference Maker, Performance Contracting and Breaking Ground. Stamford received First Honors in the Power of Change Innovation category.
“I was extremely proud to accept this award on behalf of the Stamford Board of Education,” said Benzyk. “We have a great team of talented people and the Scofield LED retrofit is just one example of all the great things we do to reduce energy across the district and save money for our city. We hope other school districts will be inspired by the success of this project and the powerful energy saving potential of LED lights.”
The sponsors of the Power of Change Award (the Common Sense Fund, Hampshire Foundation and the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation) brought together a panel of energy and environment experts from government, business, academia and advocacy organizations to judge the 2014 entries. The judges included John Rathgeber, President of CT Business and Industry Association (CBIA); Jessica Boehland, Kresge Foundation; and Bryan Garcia of CEFIA, Connecticut’s green bank.
Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation President Michelle Knapik said, “As these award winners have shown, investments in energy efficiency, energy infrastructure, best practices and behavior provide immediate, multiple and long-term benefits. These town and state leaders are demonstrating what is possible to achieve in the built environment, and they are setting an example for public leaders nationwide. Their efforts put Connecticut on the leading edge of transforming our relationship with energy – this is a path toward a brighter, cleaner energy future.”