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Waipahu school is recognized by Education Department for green initiatives

Honowai Elementary School in Waipahu has been named one of the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools.

The state Department of Education nominated Honowai Elementary, which serves 700 students from kindergarten to sixth grade, for the recognition due to its success integrating innovative energy technology with meaningful learning experiences while reducing energy costs.

The school’s teachers, students and staff also worked together to create a healthy school campus and a safe pedestrian area.

“We’re thrilled to hear that Honowai Elementary is one of 40 public schools nationwide being honored this year,” said Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent of the Office of School Facilities and Support Services, in a news release. “Honowai Elementary is an exemplary model of sustainability and our first HIDOE campus to complete a school retrofit with campus-wide energy efficiencies and energy generation. This recognition signifies that HIDOE is moving in the right direction for our energy plans.”

The school’s 492 solar photovoltaic modules generate 400 kilowatt-hours per day of clean power. Additional retrofits to the school’s interior and exterior lights to LEDs, its refrigeration system, ventilation controls and roofing insulation helped Honowai reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 58 percent and energy use by 42 percent in just one year.

The school campus is also home to a taro patch, and hydroponics and aquaponics systems.

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