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Video: Fairfax County School Board Prioritizes Climate Action; Moves Towards Net-Zero School Construction and Renovations

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The all-Democratic Fairfax County School Board, finally rid of negative value-added time-wasters like right-wing nutter Elizabeth Schultz, is busy getting good work done. See below, for instance, as the Board moved in its February 6, 2020 meeting towards environmental sustainability. Specifically, School Board member Melanie Meren moved (seconded by Karl Frisch) as follows:

“…to direct the superintendent to:

1. Identify how FCPS can adopt best practices in energy and resource stewardship in facility design. FCPS staff will prepare for a School Board work session to examine:

a.  Net Zero design. FCPS will identify where the division currently is on any factors that lead towards Net Zero ready; and recommend pathways and associated costs and time to obtain 20-25 Energy Usage Intensity (EUI) per facility, which is a measure of a building’s energy per square foot. Net Zero design and building specifications will provide a superior energy efficient building resulting in lower operating costs over the life of the school compared to the existing specifications. Furthermore, Net Zero buildings can be teaching tools and community examples about the benefits and necessity of energy efficiencies and renewable energy technologies.

b. Electrification planning. Present an approach for how FCPS can incorporate the principle of electrification (moving away from fossil-fueled components like heating and cooling), to prepare for the future availability of such technology.

c. Circular Economy Practices. Present an approach for FCPS can incorporate practices that plan for how future builds and renovations will be disposed of when their lifetime ends.

2. Develop an Operations Energy Strategy. Develop a plan that identifies metrics, timeline, and staff responsibilities for measuring energy use; includes annual goals for energy use; and establishes a regular timeline for reporting to the School Board.”

The motion carried unanimously, as it very well should have, because this is *exactly* the direction public school systems should be moving – towards energy efficiency, above all, as that is the best and frequently cheapest way to keep schools heated, cooled, lighted, etc. while slashing carbon pollution, cutting energy costs and also improving students’ and staffs’ health and comfort. No-brainer, right? Yet, for whatever combination of reasons, most school systems have old, inefficient buildings, that basically do the exact opposite of the just-listed attributes. Which is why it’s great to see the gigantic Fairfax County School Board move in the right direction. I urge them to do so as aggressively as possible, and I also urge other jurisdictions in Virginia to follow their lead!