VBCPS - Charting the Course
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rosemary Gladden
Date: 01/16/20 Phone: 757.263.1229
News Release No. 020 Fax: 757.263.1010
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Email: rosemary.gladden@vbschools.com

VBCPS selected for nation's largest
electric school bus initiative

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) is one of 16 school divisions selected to be part of the nation's largest electric school bus initiative launched by Dominion Energy to replace Virginia diesel school buses with electric ones. As part of Dominion's initial 50-bus deployment, VBCPS will receive six electric school buses later this year to replace older diesel buses and reduce emissions.

"We're honored to partner with Dominion Energy for this first-of-its-kind endeavor," said the school division's chief operations officer, Jack Freeman. "In VBCPS, our sustainability motto is to 'lead by example,' and this initiative illustrates the positive headway that can be made when people and organizations work together."

According to Dominion, electric school buses are up to 60% less expensive to operate and maintain over time, are free of emissions and will have vehicle-to-grid technology to leverage bus batteries to store and inject energy onto the power grid when the buses are not needed for transport. As part of the initiative, Dominion will pay for the difference in cost between a traditional diesel bus, costing approximately $105,000, and an electric bus, estimated at $350,000.

As a school division, VBCPS is a recognized leader in sustainability, teaching students about the interdependency of all systems in regard to their social, economic and environmental impacts. The division's sustainability practices have also garnered VBCPS state and national awards, including the 2019 Virginia Environmental Excellence Program Sustainability Partner designation, the 2018 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, the 2017 Green School division honor and the ENERGY Star Partner of the Year distinction for two consecutive years.

In 2020, VBCPS is launching an Environmental Studies program in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center, and the school division will continue building on its numerous initiatives: expanding a scratch cooking program to reduce cafeteria food waste while increasing student interest in sustainable foods; purchasing fewer polluting vehicles; and continuing a building managers program to prolong the life and use of existing buildings and make them more energy efficient.

VBCPS' sustainability work dates to 2002 when the division began constructing Virginia's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified school. In addition, the division was among the first K-12 school divisions in the country in 2011 to inventory its carbon emissions footprint on an ongoing basis. Since 2006, the division has reduced emissions by 29% and energy use by 22%, even while constructing new buildings and expanding technology in schools.

Learn more about the school division's sustainability initiatives at vbschools.com. Or, visit Dominion Energy's Electric School Bus page.

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Department of Media and Communications, vbcpsweb@vbschools.com

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