CA School System Saves Some Cash, Improves Curriculum

With state budget cuts to education looming, California’s school systems aren’t exactly flush. Which is why it’s nice to see a school district rallying to save both cash and carbon via increased energy efficiency — and hey, maybe teach those kids a thing or two in the process. That’s what the Temple City Unified School District will accomplish this year, via Los Angeles County’s largest ever K-12 energy efficiency and solar program.

This program saw a 400-kilowatt solar power system mounted on parking shade structures at Temple City High School; the replacement of the boiler and chiller at Longden Elementary School; the installation of high-efficiency pumping equipment at Temple City High School’s pool; and the addition of new, energy efficient windows at Oak Avenue Intermediate School. These energy efficient upgrades are expected to save the school district more than $3.8 million over the coming years.

 

Solar power

image via Shutterstock

Chevron Energy Solutions, the installer on this project, is no stranger to solar installations involving the nation’s schools (it is, in fact, the largest such provider in the country). Drawing on its experience in this field, the company helped the school district develop energy education curriculum content to go along with its new green features. This content includes teacher training workshops designed to help educators inspire students to learn about and experience clean energy technologies and concepts firsthand.

In addition to their training, teachers within the Temple City School District will receive instructional materials, including ready-to-launch lesson plans and math problems that relate to the installed solar electric system at Temple City High. They’ll also gain access to solar energy kits that contain scaled-down versions of a solar power installation and provide activities for students.

In addition to the cash the district stands to save — including a $100,000 kickback from Southern California Edison — these new energy efficient features are expected to cut Temple City Unified School District’s electrical utility purchases by more than 33 percent and reduce its annual carbon emissions by more than 800 metric tons.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.