Hesperia students have returned to school to find room temperatures and airflow optimized for learning. The Hesperia Unified School District (the District) has completed an energy retrofit project that improved building infrastructure while saving millions in future energy costs. In the three months since project completion indications show a 31% reduction in the District’s energy costs.
Two years ago, with the State’s elimination of deferred maintenance funding and facing a significant deferred maintenance backlog, the District Board and staff took action to solve the District’s infrastructure challenges. District staff began searching for policy approaches and Proposition 39 became one clear option to address deferred maintenance while reducing building energy and operating costs. Proposition 39 allows eligible local education agencies to apply for funds to complete energy efficiency projects and create jobs in their local markets.
After a competitive process in 2014, the District entered into an energy services contract with Climatec, a leader in energy retrofit services for California schools. District staff and Climatec’s energy engineering team completed a planning study and created an Energy Master Plan resulting in a program to address 23 District sites (22 campuses plus the District office). The study identified deferred maintenance and infrastructure replacement needs in the areas of HVAC, lighting and building automation systems in excess of $30 million. With the help of $4.7 million in Proposition 39 funding, the District was able to implement an initial phase of work in the amount of $12.98 million. The balance of the funding was provided primarily through guaranteed energy savings from Climatec and utility rebates.
Implementation of the energy program began in May 2014 and finished in July 2015. The energy savings and infrastructure improvements included:
- modernization of over 300 classroom heating and cooling systems,
- installation of a new district-wide building automation system,
- state-of-the-art motion sensor controls for lighting and HVAC across the District,
- comprehensive LED lighting retrofits, and
- installation of a computer power management system.
“The State funding available through Proposition 39 really got this project off the ground. Were it not for Prop 39 seed money, we may still be looking at a backlog of deferred maintenance and higher energy bills,” said Hesperia Unified School District Superintendent David McLaughlin. “HUSD is always looking for innovative ideas to deliver the best education we can for our students. Cost-effectively creating improved classroom environments while saving energy simply made sense. The District staff and Board recognized the benefits of being an early-adopter of Proposition 39 funding and leveraging costs, and we are now seeing the benefits in cost savings and improved learning environments.”
In addition to addressing $12.98 million in deferred maintenance needs, the project will deliver an estimated $400 thousand per year in General Fund relief. The project is already beating cost saving projections as evidenced by a recent trailing three month report showing a 31% reduction in energy costs.
Hesperia Unified School District Board President Eric Swanson commented on the benefits of this type of project, “Any time we, as a Board, can offset our general fund costs and provide a more comfortable environment for our students and teachers, it is a win-win. Hesperia Unified School District is excited to be a leader among California school districts using innovation in funding and technology to benefit our students.”
Dave Olney, Assistant Superintendent