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White House environmental adviser to get energy lesson at Bayless High School

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 11, 2011 - WASHINGTON - Staffers and students at Bayless High School will get an opportunity next week to teach the White House a thing or two about energy efficiency.

Nancy Sutley, the principal environmental adviser to President Barack Obama, is scheduled to visit Bayless on Monday to learn how the south St. Louis County school has used energy-efficient technology to lower its heating and cooling bills.

Sutley, who chairs the White House Council on Environmental Quality, planned the school visit in advance of a talk she will give that afternoon to the annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners at the Renaissance Grand Hotel downtown.

In her keynote speech, Sutley is expected to discuss the Obama administration's policies to promote renewable energy by backing energy-efficient projects, grid modernization and energy transmission.

White House officials said Bayless was chosen for a visit because the "Energy Star"-certified school has installed a high-efficiency heating and cooling system that costs less to operate than the old system and reaches 60 percent more of the school building.

County Executive Charlie Dooley and other local officials are scheduled to accompany Sutley on the visit, during which she plans to "engage with faculty and students" about the importance of energy efficiency.

One segment of Obama's proposed American Jobs Act -- which has been blocked in Congress but several parts of which are being considered separately -- would help modernize public schools, including funds for energy upgrades, emergency repairs, asbestos removal, and building new science and computer labs. Missouri would receive about $420 million for such school projects if that proposal is approved.

Rob Koenig is an award-winning journalist and author. He worked at the STL Beacon until 2013.

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