Time invested in long-term energy efficiency planning is paying off for one Central Valley school district.
Clovis Unified School District, located northeast of Fresno, created an energy conservation and efficiency program in 2008. The program’s goals were to maintain comfort and safety at school facilities, eliminate energy waste, and save on utility costs.
With such goals in mind, the district applied in 2014 to receive Clean Energy Jobs Act Program (Proposition 39) funds to help eliminate energy waste and increase energy efficiency. The district used its $3.3 million grant at 14 of the district’s 42 K-12 schools. Projects included replacing interior and exterior lighting, replacing heating and air conditioning units, and installing energy efficient pool pumps.
The Proposition 39 K-12 Program, which the California Energy Commission administers, helps schools improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation at schools. It is a voter-approved initiative that adjusted the corporate income tax code and allocated revenues to school districts for energy improvements to facilities.
Stuart Ogren, who is the energy management coordinator for Clovis Unified, believes energy management helps the district keep energy costs stable even while the district has added new schools. The measures installed with Proposition 39 funds are estimated to save the district nearly $300,000 a year in utility costs.
“What it allows us to do is put the money back to the students and programs for the students. And, that is where it’s most important,” said Ogren.
Clovis Unified is working to make its campuses more environmentally friendly and save money by using efficiency dollars provided by local utilities and the state. The district, which is eligible for another $5.5 million in Proposition 39 funds, intends to submit plans for those dollars before the program’s August 2017 deadline.
To search K-12 school district and community college district projects, visit the Energy Commission’s searchable database. Information on the Energy Commission’s Proposition 39 K-12 Program is at http://www.energy.ca.gov/efficiency/proposition39/