Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) presented a $272,000 incentive check to the Board of Education on Aug. 11 for energy-saving features incorporated in the design and building of St. Charles High School.
St. Charles is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver school, opened in August 2014 and incorporates energy management features throughout the building.
An all-electric building with four floors, St. Charles qualified for the $272,000 incentive from SMECO with an energy savings of 1,600 megawatt hours per year. According to SMECO officials, the savings are the equivalent of the yearly usage of 123 average residential SMECO customers.
Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) has worked with the SMECO Business Solutions Program to save energy on past projects, and annually receives energy usage rebates for its conservation efforts. CCPS and SMECO teamed up again during construction of St. Charles, the school system’s newest and seventh high school. CCPS and its general contractor submitted an application to be considered for an energy savings incentive through SMECO’s EMPOWER MD Program.
To receive the incentive and become a LEED Silver standard facility, the school system added the following measures to St. Charles to go above being code-compliant: high efficiency exterior walls, glazing and roof, high efficiency lighting and lighting controls with Lutron Ecosystem platform, high efficiency geothermal system, and demand controlled ventilation. The building design incorporates energy management features, including natural lighting, water efficient landscaping and a geothermal heating and cooling system.
According to Keith Hettel, assistant superintendent of supporting services, the school system will pass the energy savings back to the county.
St. Charles opened with grades 9 through 11 and adds a senior class this school year. It is a 288,283 square-foot school that stacks four academic houses on four floors and contains 80 teaching stations.
The high school also contains the James E. Richmond Science Center, which contains a state-of-the-art digital classroom and Science on a Sphere that is used by the public and students systemwide. Nearly 20,000 students visited the Science Center last school year. It also includes the Col. Donald M. Wade Aquatic Center with a competition sized six-lane, 25-yard pool, locker rooms and bleacher seating. Other St. Charles athletic features include a football stadium with an eight-lane track; bleacher seating for 1,500 home/500 visitors; 14 fields including football, baseball, softball, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse; and eight tennis courts.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,500 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.