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High school makes the grade

Spa City building earns a perfect score from EPA's Energy Star program

Saratoga Springs High School gets an A+ for being green from the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program, the national symbol for superior energy efficiency.

The school earned an energy performance score of 100, the highest score possible on the 1-100 scale used by the EPA to assess how efficiently buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. Buildings with scores of 75 or higher are eligible for the Energy Star.

We were not expecting the award, said Frank Crowley, Saratoga Springs High School principal.

He said that during the 2001-2002 school year, the campus went through a renovation project totaling approximately $35 million. A new gymnasium and 38 classrooms were built, on top of many other renovations to already existing structures. Part of the project involved making everything on campus more energy efficient. Projects included putting in new heaters in various classrooms, putting in new electrical work and new ventilation in buildings.

"There was a great deal of effort put into energy savings," said Crowley.

All of the windows and doors on the high school's campus were replaced for more energy efficient ones. The lighting that the architects chose for the classrooms was also energy efficient.

"I don't think that was the goal by any stretch of the imagination," said Crowley when asked if the school was aiming to win an Energy Star award with their construction and renovations so many years ago. "The goal was to create and revitalize a high school building for 2,100 young people."

Some specific features that contributed to the district's energy savings include motion lights in each classroom and keeping the temperature in all buildings at 68 degrees.

"A 68 to you might be a different than a 68 to me. Some people have no problem with it, some people are a little warm, some people are a little chilly with 68, and when you have the numbers that we have in this building, you're not going to please everyone," said Crowley.

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