To provide Kentucky’s school district leaders with energy-efficiency strategies to reduce operating costs while improving student learning, a two-day High Performance Sustainable Schools Workshop is scheduled for March 12-13 in Bardstown.

The event is hosted by the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence (DEDI) and the Kentucky National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project.

Kentucky’s school districts spend on average $600,000 annually on utility costs for buildings, and that number is expected to rise as utility prices increase in the coming years, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

“Our goal is to educate school decision-makers about the economic return on energy efficient design before they begin their next building renovation or new construction project,” Greg Guess, director of Kentucky’s Division of Efficiency and Conservation, said. “Senior level school administrators along with architects and engineers will learn about the latest developments in high-performance school design strategies, hear examples from other school leaders and tour schools in the Nelson County school district that have already utilized energy-saving opportunities to significantly reduce costs.”

On March 12, workshop participants will tour Foster Heights Elementary School, an innovative renovated 1958 building that has exceeded energy efficiency expectations.

The following day, the group will tour Thomas Nelson High School and learn how the district’s integrated design team incorporated sustainable design strategies without exceeding the project’s budget.

Both schools have earned ENERGY STAR ratings of 99 and are among the most highly efficient schools in the nation.

Since 2010, the number of ENERGY STAR schools in Kentucky has grown to 237, and the 6 percent reduction in school energy use statewide indicates school districts view as critical the need to save operating dollars through energy reductions.

The workshop will convene at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown. For more information, contact Pam Proctor of NEED by calling (859) 547-8008.