New Lighting Makes Old Facility Shine Brightly Again

Big Creek Unified School District sits in eastern Fresno County with one school. The K-8 grade school resides in an historic 100-year-old building. Although some upgrades have been made over the last century, the lighting system remained largely untouched. After examining what projects would save the district the most money, administrators at Big Creek Elementary School chose to update their ancient lighting system.

The district applied to the California Energy Commission for nearly $73,000 in funding from Proposition 39, an initiative California voters approved in 2012 that closed a tax loophole and had rewarded businesses for moving jobs out of state. Now those tax dollars are being invested in our children, our schools and our environment.

Because the school wanted to be sure they chose the most cost effective project, they took time and resources to review the energy analytics and data. This and studies showing the benefits of better lighting convinced administrators of investing in the lighting system retrofit upgrades.

Since the project’s completion, administrators noticed a drop in the electricity bills. They report a reduction in energy costs by 13 percent and expect this to increase over time. For the small school, the upgrades have created a better learning environment for the students and teachers. To make the facility even more comfortable and save more money, the district plans to look next at upgrading the building envelope – such as windows and insulation—or maybe even installing solar PV.

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California Energy Commission

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency created by the Legislature in 1974.
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