BRENTWOOD -- Over the past 30 months, the Brentwood Union School District has saved $552,795 through its energy conservation program and plans are under way to seek state funding to expand its efforts.
The district's Energy Conservation Program has led to 15 percent in overall savings for Brentwood's elementary and middle schools. According to district Energy Education Specialist Derrick Bullington, a majority of the savings has been the result of training employees to change their habits, such as turning off lights and computers when not needed in classrooms and computer labs.
"It has been very positive and very well-received," Bullington said. "When I make my visits, 90 percent of the staff have their classrooms shut down and off."
This week, the Brentwood school board was presented with an Environmental Excellence Award for its efforts from Cenergistic, an energy conservation company that works with the district on reducing energy usage and avoiding related costs.
Cenergistic's Ed Graff said that Brentwood is a model school district for energy conservation with these changes in habits and daily routines.
"You hit a major milestone and saved a half-million dollars in 30 months," he said. "You have to keep doing this all the time, if you expect the savings."
A huge amount of energy savings comes from the summer and fall break campus shutdowns, according to Bullington. Last summer's shutdown represented $107,180 or 46 percent of the savings in 2013.
The district's next step toward more energy savings is to acquire Prop. 39 funding from the California Clean Energy Jobs Act. Some $550 million in grants is available annually under Prop. 39 and the district is expected to receive $300,000 each year over the next five years for energy-saving projects, according to the district's Chief Business Official Liz Robbins.
District officials noted that to receive the state funding, strict guidelines must be followed. The Brentwood school board opted to utilize the services of an energy engineering consultation firm, IEC Corp. in Sacramento, to help identify energy conservation projects and develop an overall plan for Prop. 39 funding.
IEC works with 65 school sites, including the Manteca Unified School District. IEC will cover all of the costs associated with performing energy audits and prepare an energy expenditure plan for the Brentwood school district with an 8 percent management fee collected during the construction phase of future Prop. 39 projects there.
Among the potential options are window replacement at Edna Hill Middle School, lighting upgrades and HVAC improvements, according to the district's Director of Maintenance and Operations Bob Brown.
"There is a lot opportunity to get things done," Brown said.
Reach Paula King at 925-779-7174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.