A school in Bowling Green is cashing in on the energy efficient features the district installed when it was built. Warren County schools received a check from the power company this fall for more than $37,000—payment for the energy the school generated.
By many accounts, Richardsville Elementary was the first “net-zero” school in the country. The builders cut energy bills by adding features like solar tubes, insulating concrete forms and geothermal energy. Then, they added solar panels, and made the building a net energy producer.
Joanie Hendricks is a spokeswoman for the Warren County School District. She says besides saving—and making—money, the school’s green features help to educate the students about energy stewardship.
“What makes Richardsville really awesome and unique is that it’s designed as an energy museum for the kids,” she said. “So every hallway, every place they go, they’re learning something about energy.”
One of the reasons the school district can actually make money from the solar panels is because they’re in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s service area. TVA has a program called Green Power Providers that’s not replicated in any other Kentucky utility companies; it pays facilities when solar panels create enough energy to sell some back to the grid.
To watch Richardsville Elementary students explain their school in a video, click here.