BGE gives Harford public schools funds for energy savings

Harford County Public Schools has received more than $600,000 in cash incentives from BGE to reflect the school system's partnership with the utility to conserve energy.

School officials are working with BGE through its Smart Energy Savers Program, which provides incentives to customers who work to reduce their energy use and subsequent environmental impact. Officials with BGE and the school system will be working throughout the year.

During the Harford County Board of Education business meeting Monday, Bill Wolf, BGE's manager of industrial and commercial conservation programs, and other utility officials presented a $631,525 check for investments already made by the school system.

School officials have made upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems in 42 of Harford County's 54 public schools, and BGE spokeswoman Rachael Lighty said the money presented Monday was an incentive for those upgrades.

"Those improvements represent about $68,000 a year in annualized energy savings, or about the equivalent of the usage of 300 homes," Wolf said during the check presentation. "It's been a great pleasure partnering with Harford County Public Schools in driving these programs."

Wolf said the school system should receive $1.6 million more in incentives next year – Lighty said the incentives will be for additional school improvements this year.

He said programs such as Smart Energy Savers are part of Maryland utilities' efforts to reduce energy use across the state 15 percent by 2015, as required by the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act of 2008.

"Partners like Harford County Public Schools have really made this a success," he continued.

Andrew Cassilly, HCPS' resource conservation manager, said school system officials were working to conserve energy even before the partnership with BGE.

"We're happy to be partners with you," he told the BGE representatives.

He joked: "As long as you want to keep giving us money, we're happy to take it."

State champions

A number of student athletes were honored Monday for their achievements in winter sports at the state level in Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association championship contests.

First, the coaches and players for the Aberdeen High School Lady Eagles girls basketball team were recognized for winning their second consecutive 3A state title last month.

Head Coach Amber Milnes said "it has been an honor to coach these girls this year."

"In the classroom and on the court these girls work hard," Milnes continued. "They're very dedicated to what they do, and the state championship just is a tribute to their hard work and dedication to the sport, so girls, you earned it, congratulations and we're proud of you."

Honors were also presented to Kevin Mackey of North Harford High School, the 3A indoor track state champion in shotput and William Holder-Moore of Bel Air High School, the 3A state wrestling champion in the 170-pound weight class.

Lauren Woollen of Fallston High School was also a winner during the Indoor Track State Championship Meet in February, when she placed first in the girls' 2A high jump event.

Six members of boys' and girls' swimming teams – several who broke county records during the 3A2A1A State Swim Championships in February – were honored as well.

Erika Abshire, Megan Cowan, Julia O'Mara and Lauren O'Mara of C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air were state champions in the women's 200-yard medley relay.

Cowan was also the winner of the 200-yard freestyle race and the 100-yard butterfly; Lauren O'Mara won the 100-yard breaststroke.

All four athletes broke county team and individual time records set during the early 1990s.

Fallston High School swimmer Madison Brown won the women's 100-yard backstroke and her teammate Austin Appel won the men's 100-yard butterfly.

Sportsmanship awards

Several Harford County teams, part of the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference, were also honored Monday for receiving sportsmanship awards.

The UCBAC is made up of Cecil and Harford County school teams.

The C. Milton Wright wrestling team, the Harford Technical High School boys' swimming team and Edgewood High School girls' swimming team won sportsmanship awards in the Susquehanna (lower) Division, and the Bel Air High School girls' basketball team won in the Chesapeake (upper) Division.

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