National Building Competition

Coal Ridge High School Participates in the EPA's National Building Competition

Over the loud speakers, the countdown began.

Several Coal Ridge High School students donned in self-painted camouflage t-shirts and deemed the Green Ninjas raced through the halls to see who could get to the light switch first.

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And just as swiftly, they were lunging for the plug connected to the printer in the counselor’s office.

Three, two, one! Operation Shutdown has commenced.
The building was dimly lit. Classroom lights were out, un-necessary appliances were unplugged, and students calmly made their way to the Coal Ridge gymnasium. From 10 to 11 a.m., the building was operating on minimal power with telephones, essential electrical devices and life-safety systems still completely operational. While in the gym, students were told that Coal Ridge High School was one of just 245 contestants nation-wide in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star National Building Competition: Battle of the Buildings.

The goal of the nationwide competition, billed as a “Biggest Loser-type” contest for buildings, is to help improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings and protect the environment.

"Coal Ridge is honored to be a part of EPA’s ENERGY STAR National Building Competition,” said Dave Morgan, Principal "We are committed to improving our energy efficiency, and we look forward to seeing how we measure up against other buildings across the nation.”

The 2011 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition includes 245 teams from 26 different types of commercial buildings - such as retail stores, schools, hotels, and museums - that hail from 33 states and the District of Columbia.

Coal Ridge High School is already well on their way to saving hundreds of thousands of kilowatts. The hour of minimal energy use resulted in a 60 percent decrease in energy consumption, dropping the school’s Kw consumption from about 205 Kw to just 75Kw.

“This was amazing,” said energy club sponsor and science teacher Diana Buirgy. “The kids are really into helping Coal Ridge High School win this competition. They are now asking why teachers have their lights on when they are teaching, and if things that are plugged in really need to be plugged in.”

To try to reduce the amount of energy used at Coal Ridge High School, Garfield Re-2 and CRHS have already:
• Installed interval data reporting meters to monitor building energy use on a daily basis;
• Performed an energy audit of the building’s mechanical systems;
• Retrofitted the lighting in the commons to more energy efficient fixtures;
• Begun an awareness campaign encouraging energy conservation among staff and students;
• Evaluated and modified the building controls and air handlers;
• Evaluated and modified boiler system and equipment;
• Scheduled a retrofitting of gymnasium lights to high efficiency fixtures and bulbs for this summer;
• Scheduled installation of classroom occupancy sensors to reduce energy consumption for summer;

Garfield Re-2 and Coal Ridge High School are now in the midst of Operation Shutdown, a multi-phased plan to improve the energy efficiency of not only Coal Ridge, but the district and the community as well.

Be looking for the “Green Ninjas” of Coal Ridge, and students from energy clubs at other Garfield Re-2 schools to talk about ways the community can get involved in Operation Shutdown.