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Public Schools, DENR Receive Excellence Award

Pictured:  Derek Graham (NCDPI), Anne Galamb and Brian Phillips (DENR – DAQ), Janet McCabe (EPA)

DENR Press Release (4/11/2014)

The Public Schools of North Carolina, together with the Division of Air Quality in the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources are being recognized by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 18 years of clean air initiatives. The project, collectively named “Clean School Bus NC: Kids Breathe Here” was selected for a Clean Air Excellence Award in the Transportation Efficiency Innovations category. The project was chosen for its impact, innovation and replicability.

North Carolina’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) and Department of Public Instruction (DPI) partnered in an 18-year effort to improve air quality at public schools. The “Clean School Bus NC: Kids Breathe Here” program reached that goal through various technological, policy, outreach and transportation efforts.

The agencies used local, state and federal funds to replace, repower or retrofit 1,891 school buses with exhaust controls. DPI adopted policies and incentives to reduce idling by bus drivers, and DAQ helped with outreach. DAQ, DPI and local school districts secured and provided nearly $3.6 million in grants to support bus retrofit/repower/hybrid/replacement projects.


Clean Air Technologies. DAQ, DPI and school systems collaborated to retrofit, repower, or replace aging school buses with cleaner-burning vehicles. Grants totaling $3,596,583 helped pay for retrofitting 1,854 buses with exhaust controls and replacing/repowering 37 buses with cleaner-burning vehicles. These technologies reduced annual bus emissions by 3.4 tons for nitrogen oxides and 9.1 tons for particle pollution.

Education/Outreach. DPI educated bus drivers about idle reduction benefits while implementing related policies. DAQ assisted outreach efforts through its “Turn Off Your Engine” campaign, including a brochure, instruction, website and signage. The division distributed more than 3,000 “Turn Off Your Engine: Kids Breathe Here” signs, installed at more than 1,000 schools in 30 counties.

Regulatory/Policy Innovations. DPI required local school systems to adopt a reduced idling policy to be eligible for state transportation funds linked to increasing fuel prices.

Transportation Efficiency. Efforts to reduce unnecessary idling help conserve fuel while reducing air pollution, and new school buses average 9-10 percent better fuel economy.


HERE is the letter from the EPA recognizing this project.










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