School Energy Manager Project (SEMP), Kentucky School Boards Association

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The School Energy Manager Project (SEMP), a service by the Kentucky School Boards Association, began in 2010 after receiving $5 million dollars in funding from the Obama Administration to develop an Energy Management Program for Kentucky K-12 public schools. This funding helped local school districts hire energy managers and to get an Energy Management Program started in most of the Kentucky’s 173 public school districts.

When the initial investment had been spent, many school districts continued to fund this program, finding great value and seeing results in energy reduction and education for their students. For 5 years, a partnership with Kentucky utilities contributed to the energy manager’s salary. While the SEMP officially ended in 2018, its legacy continues with many schools maintaining the Energy Management Program.

Due to this program and SEMP leadership, many remarkable results have been seen. The statewide energy utilization index for Kentucky’s Public Schools lowered over an eight-year period from 65 to below 50 KBTU/SF/yr. The corresponding dollar savings (returned to the classroom) were over $225 Million. Despite rising energy costs, Kentucky schools are spending less in non-transportation energy in today than in FY2010. The number of ENERGY STAR labeled school buildings in Kentucky went from 12 in 2008 to 450 through fiscal year 2018, making Kentucky the third ranked state in the nation for the highest percentage of ENERGY STAR labeled school buildings at the time. Over 600,000 metric tons of CO2 gases into the environment were eliminated.

The School Energy Management Project was recognized nationally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy as an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year in Program Delivery for 5 years of Sustained Excellence.