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School District Modernizes Lights to Increase Safety While Saving Energy



Maintaining a productive community and a high quality education is hard to do without efficient, modern technology. The West Contra Costa Unified School District has solved one technology gap by using funds from the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which is also known as Proposition 39, for energy efficiency projects.

Lighting costs are the largest portion of the district’s energy bills. Administrators submitted an on-line application to the California Energy Commission for more than $1.6 million in early 2015. Five of the district’s schools – Richmond High School and Collins, Grant, Lake, and Hanna Ranch elementary schools – used the money to upgrade more than 5,000 interior lighting fixtures to more efficient LEDs and modernize their lighting systems.



The lighting projects have reduced the district’s energy use by an average of 20 percent, saving an estimated $160,000 per year on their energy bill. In addition, the improved lighting increased the safety of employees who work at night or who come in early in the morning. It has also helped ensure lights are turned off at the end of every day.

“Proposition 39 has been an amazing program that has allowed us to bring in new technology to curb our energy bill which has been steadily rising year after year,” said Julio M. Arroyo, West Contra Costa Unified’s energy conservation program manager. “As a district, we are glad that we can reduce energy consumption while saving financial resources that can be used to directly support our students and their needs.”

Proposition 39 is a 2012 voter-approved initiative that closed a corporate tax loophole and reallocated the money toward energy efficiency projects in schools.

For the list of approved Energy Expenditure Plans, by district, visit the Energy Commission’s Proposition 39 (K-12) program webpage and click on Expenditure Plans Listing.

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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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