WASHINGTON — Long Island’s Sachem Central School District, the third-largest school system in New York, is the first school district in the state (and only the second district in the nation) to complete the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Buildings program.

The district was presented with a certificate of completion during an Earth Day celebration at Sachem’s Grundy Avenue Elementary School.

Nearly 300,000 gal of oil and more than 2.9 million kWh are being saved annually as a result of installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures and new boilers.

In addition, ventilators bring fresh air to classrooms, and a Johnson Controls Metasys® building automation system helps measure, monitor, and manage energy use.

Sponsored savings

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Johnson Controls, Inc., implemented the project. The Long Island Power Authority provided energy conservation incentives in excess of $480,000 to help defray the cost of lighting and motor upgrades.

Through a performance contract, Johnson Controls financed and implemented the retrofit of 54 boilers and upgraded the Metasys system. The company recently was named the 1999 EPA Energy Star Buildings Ally of the Year.

NYPA financed and administered the $12.8 million project for the Sachem schools through its High Efficiency Lighting Program. NYPA said that it has provided funding of nearly $330 million throughout New York for energy efficiency programs in public facilities, saving taxpayers more than $55 million per year on their energy bills. NYPA is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility and provides one-quarter of New York’s electricity.

EPA’s Energy Star Buildings is a voluntary program that spurs investment in energy-efficient building technologies by businesses and organizations. Participants make upgrades only where it is cost-effective and improves the building’s indoor environment.

To date, more than 3,300 participants cumulatively have saved more than $1.7 billion and prevented the release of 33.3 billion lb of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the pollution produced each year by 3.3 million cars.

“The district’s commitment to saving energy and saving money is resulting in reducing our energy costs by $500,000 per year and providing a better learning environment for children,” said Sachem superintendent James Ruck. The savings will pay for the project over the next 10 years.