COLUMBUS – The U.S. Department of Education this week announced that Graham Local Schools in St. Paris is a 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardee.
Graham Local Schools is among 25 schools, 14 districts and four postsecondary institutions nationally honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness and ensure effective sustainability education.
The district has demonstrated a commitment to conservation for the past 15 years through various innovative projects and partnerships. As one of the first districts in the region to install light sensors in restrooms, Graham also was on the forefront of implementing district-wide HVAC policies. Leading to a savings of more than $550,000 in energy costs, Graham partnered with Energy Optimizers USA and Waibel Energy Systems to replace lamps, ensure standardized HVAC controls and install skylights.
The U.S. Department of Education also highlighted Graham’s groundbreaking development of solar array power, which ultimately will provide 75 percent of all electrical needs at the middle school and elementary school. Other achievements by the school include improving water quality and conservation through the installation of low-flow restroom equipment, transitioning to all green-certified cleaning products, expanding recycling efforts, implementing a staff wellness event, growing produce and the formation of the Graham Middle School Energy Team, which addresses the vocational need for more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers.