Since taking advantage of grant funding available through Proposition 39 and the California Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2017 and 2018, UUSD has retrofitted lighting at five schools and plans to do the same at remaining schools, as well as installing solar panels at various locations. The total savings on electricity bills should be enough to fund a new “desperately needed” heating and air conditioning system for Grace Hudson Elementary School, according to UUSD Superintendent Deb Kubin.
By working with Indoor Environmental Services (IES), a Minnesota company with offices in Santa Rosa that specializes in helping clients create more efficient indoor environments, UUSD was able to evaluate its current energy consumption and determine ways to reduce costs through improved efficiency. High efficiency LED fixtures not only lower UUSD’s electrical costs and carbon footprint but provide higher quality natural light levels in classrooms.
Kubin said, “Moving to more energy-efficient technology was an easy choice. Figuring out how to pay for it was the challenge. The Prop. 39 funds were essential.”
Since finishing the lighting retrofits at Eagle Peak Middle School, Grace Hudson Elementary, Nokomis Elementary, Oak Manor Elementary, and Calpella Elementary, UUSD has reduced its energy usage during a 9-month period by almost a fifth (346,721 kWh), saving roughly $66,675.
Kubin said, “Whenever we can creatively use our scarce resources more effectively, we do so. Money-saving energy retrofits and solar projects are a perfect example. It’s up to all of us to pay attention to how we use electricity. Once you start looking for ways to improve, you see them everywhere.”