The following is a press release from Jones County Schools
EduCon Energy Inc., an energy conservation consulting company for school districts, announces that elementary through high school students in its EnergyWise club program will serve as ambassadors and provide tours for the new Jones County PK–12 School opening on August 5. The new school combines Trenton Elementary, Jones Middle and Jones High School into one innovative building designed to operate as efficiently as possible and while encouraging student learning in a collaborative environment.
Due to the devastation caused by flooding from Hurricane Florence last year, Jones County Schools missed 25 days and both Trenton Elementary and Jones Middle were condemned, displacing students from the two schools. The new building was already under way to replace the three schools, which all dated back to the 1950s. When the school year begins on August 26, more than 700 Jones County students from pre-K through grade 12 will attend the school, which can accommodate up to 918 students.
“The Jones County PK-12 building is going to enhance what we are doing in Jones County,” says Dr. Michael Bracy, Superintendent of Jones County Public Schools. “This facility will be a game changer and provide greater opportunities for our students moving forward.”
During the building dedication ceremony, EnergyWise students will guide local and state officials through their new school and share key highlights of the school’s energy-efficient features. About 20 EnergyWise club students from grades 4th through 11th convened this summer to learn about energy efficiency and the building’s unique design.
The new school was designed by SfL+a Architects, built by Metcon and is owned by Firstfloor, a real estate development firm serving educational institutions. Firstfloor has contracted EduCon as an energy educator partner for their net positive schools.
“The Jones County K–12 building is a model of energy efficiency, sustainability and an optimized learning environment — truly bringing science, math, engineering and technology to life,” says Andrew LaRowe, president of EduCon. “EnergyWise empowers these students to understand energy efficiency, take that vital knowledge and spread it into the community. They’re not just learning about sustainability … these students also become active learners engaged with their surroundings and advocates for the environment.”
Key sustainability features of the Jones County PK-12 School include:
- 2,148 solar panels on its roof, which is estimated to produce 175% of the electricity required by the school
- Geothermal wells that utilize the constant temperature of the earth to supply heating and air conditioning
- Building Automation System (BAS) that regulates air temperature and humidity levels, air purification, lighting control systems.
- Large, floor-to-ceiling windows with high-performance glass specifically selected to let daylight and natural heat in, but keep direct sunlight out
- LED lighting throughout the school and daylight harvesting systems
- Dashboard at entrances showing real-time energy data for the building
“The new Jones County PK-12 facility is a phenomenal example of how a true public-private-partnership venture comes together,” says Robbie Ferris, AIA, REFP, LEED AP – Firstfloor Energy Positive & SfL+a Architects. “Jones County Public Schools, Jones County, state representatives and a handful of private sector partners built this project with one goal in mind: bringing a world-class educational environment to Jones County students. This building and the EnergyWise club will inspire students to enter into a career field in STEM, engineering, architecture and construction. The valuable lessons they will learn from this building will last a lifetime.”
During the school year, EnergyWise club members will participate in an experiential learning curriculum, covering alternative forms of energy and other components that make their school efficient and sustainable. The students will be led by media coordinators and an EnergyWise instructor. At the end of the year, students will compete for local and national awards and recognition for their work. EnergyWise clubs are now in place at almost 70 schools in North Carolina and South Carolina.
EduCon Energy Inc. offers consulting services to school systems to reduce annual energy costs and promote sustainable operations. The company works with school districts throughout the Southeast and since beginning operations in 1996, has contracted with over 20 public school districts. EduCon’s approach to energy savings is based on district support to develop and refine energy policies and guidelines, actively monitoring data, and conducting routine audits. EduCon also implements EnergyWise clubs to engage students in environmental issues and energy conservation. More information on EduCon can be found at https://educonenergy.com/.