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Students Help West Chester Businesses Save Energy, Money, and Cut Pollution

The West Chester Area School District in Pennsylvania will be awarded a $149,992 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a project to help local businesses conserve energy, save money, and cut harmful greenhouse gases.

High school students in the district’s Student Conservation Corps who are concerned about the environment will encourage and teach area businesses simple, no-cost measures to achieve 10 percent reductions in their energy usage and emissions of greenhouse gases. This project is one of 20 in the United States being funded by EPA to showcase how communities are fighting climate change.

“EPA is proud to support students who are taking responsibility for the future of our environment,” says Shawn M. Garvin, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “Their efforts to engage businesses in conserving energy will have payoffs economically and for the larger community by improved air quality.”

As a part of this EPA-funded project, the district plans to broaden its conservation efforts district-wide to achieve an additional 10 percent cut in energy use and greenhouse gases. Preliminary calculations estimate that approximately 1,960 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced annually through efforts by the businesses and the school district by 2012.

Already the district has an energy efficiency program of its own in operation in its 16 school buildings. The program was started and implemented by students. The district, which spends $3 million annually for electricity, has reduced its energy use by 22 percent thanks to its “Power Down Fridays” program, saving the taxpayers $60,000 a year.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate and www.wcasd.net.

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