The school on Leonard Street found out earlier this month that it had earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Energy Star for 2014.
Energy Star’s website states that “Energy Star certified buildings save energy, save money and help protect the environment by generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings.”
Buildings are graded on a 100-point scale and must receive a score of 75 or higher in order to receive certification, indicating that it performs better than 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide.
M.S. 126 Principal Marcos Bausch said the school received a score of 90, far exceeding the minimum requirements. He said that much of the success came from the Magnet Grant the school was awarded four years ago, which allowed for a deeper and more concentrated focus on environmental engineering.
“We’re so proud of MS 126,” Bausch said. “This has been a culmination of tons of effort on our part. We’ve been working so hard to save energy and consumption over the last three years. This initiative has been omnipresent since our magnet grant, and it’s been amazing to see the fruits of our school community’s labors through this Energy Star efficiency designation.”
This is not the first recognition the school has gotten for its green efforts, either. Amber Moore, a teacher and now the magnet resource specialist, in charge of implementing environmental engineering activities in the school, described many of the curricula and initiatives the school has implemented to make it a leader in energy efficiency.
In 2013, the school took part in the Department of Sanitation’s “Reduce & Reuse Challenge” and came in first place.
Students also held a large campaign throughout the school building, which hosts three schools, to teach others how to reduce consumption.
Through all of these efforts, the school sort of “accidentally” stumbled upon the Energy Star certification, according to Moore. For the students, being energy efficient is a way of life, and the accolades just seem to follow.
“It’s been a wonderful experience seeing the kids grow,” Moore said. “Kids seek out high schools with these types of programs, and they graduate and want to go into environmental engineering.”
And, Moore said, the efforts to make this happen came from many beyond the students.
“Our custodians in our school building are so supportive of everything that we do,” she said.
The designation is impressive, as the first public school and government building in New York City to receive an Energy Star, but Moore said the school and its students will continue to work on becoming even more environmentally friendly.
“We’re still looking into other avenues,” she said. “It’s an ongoing process, and it includes the involvement of everyone in the building.”