VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rosemary Gladden
Date: 05/15/19 Phone: 757.263.1229
News Release No. 052 Fax: 757.263.1010
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Email: rosemary.gladden@vbschools.com

VBCPS recognized for environmental excellence

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is the only school division statewide named a 2019 Virginia Environmental Excellence Program Sustainability Partner (VEEP SP). This distinction is presented by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to private or public organizations that make sustainability part of their culture through leadership, innovation and continual improvement.

VBCPS is a recognized leader in sustainability which dates back to 2005 when it built Virginia's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified school - the most-widely-used green building rating system in the world, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. VBCPS School Board policy now calls for all VBCPS buildings to be built according to LEED standards. To date, VBCPS has nine LEED-certified buildings and four more in progress.

In 2011, the school division became one of the first K-12 school divisions in the country to inventory its carbon footprint and put an emissions reduction plan into action. That plan calls for audits of older buildings to replace energy-efficient lighting and heating and air conditioning units.

As a result of these efforts, the division has reduced its energy use by 27 percent while increasing building space by 9 percent.

To further embrace a culture of sustainability, division leaders gathered for a 2016 summit that resulted in VBCPS sustainability initiatives now in place. These initiatives included launching a building manager program to put trades experts in schools who maintain buildings on a daily basis. Other initiatives were purchasing propane buses and less polluting fleet vehicles and launching a scratch cooking program to reduce cafeteria food waste while increasing participation in healthy eating.

In classrooms, students across all grade levels are also learning about sustainability and, most recently, VBCPS partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center to initiate an environmental studies program for high school students which is launching in 2020.

All of these measures have earned VBCPS numerous state and national awards, including the 2018 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, a 2017 Green School Division honor and the Energy Star Partner of the Year distinction for two consecutive years.

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Department of Media and Communications, vbcpsweb@vbschools.com

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