The Bright Schools Program

Notice of Reopening of Technical Assistance Program - Posted November 8, 2012. (PDF file)

Start Saving School Dollars Now by Reducing Your Energy Usage!

As school budgets are shrinking, costs for school operations keep going up. One way to save money is by reducing your energy costs.

The Bright Schools Program Can Help!

All public or non-profit California K-12 schools are eligible for technical assistance.

The Bright Schools Program offers services to help identify the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities for your school facility. Savings can typically reduce annual utility costs by 10 percent or more. In addition, efficiency upgrades can reduce annual maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving indoor air quality and the overall building comfort.

Here's how we can assist you: Bright Schools Program

  • Provide energy audits/feasibility studies

  • Review existing proposals and designs

  • Develop equipment performance specifications

  • And more ... See the Bright Schools Program Brochure


Existing Schools

With an evaluation of your maintenance plans or an energy audit of your school facilities, we can identify energy-saving projects. Schools planning major renovations can also benefit from our technical assistance services during the planning and design processes. For existing schools, the Bright Schools Program can:

  • Provide energy audits and feasibility studies
  • Review existing proposals and designs
  • Develop equipment performance specifications
  • Assist with contractor selection
  • Review equipment bid specifications
  • Review commissioning plans


New School Construction

Schools built with energy efficient designs cost less to operate, offering continuous savings and leaving more money for education. Many new schools being built today just meet current California Title 24 energy efficiency standards and could save more energy. Many of these designs could be improved with little or no additional expense. The Bright Schools Program provides technical assistance to your district's architectural and engineering team early in the design phase, before the plans are finalized. The savings accumulate from the first day of operation!

Here are some ways we can assist:

  • Provide design review consultation
  • Identify cost-effective energy-saving measures
  • Provide recommendations to maximize Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) energy credits for state funding
  • Compare different technologies
  • Provide equipment specification consultation
  • Develop computer simulation models of your planned project
  • Help select design professionals with energy efficiency expertise
  • Review schematics and construction plans
  • Assist with system commissioning


Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to participate in the Bright Schools Program?
In most cases, there is no cost to a school to participate in the program. We provide technical assistance services up to $20,000 of our consultant's costs. The cost of a study depends on the facility size, type and scope of the project. If the cost of the study exceeds $20,000, the school may opt to share in the cost or reduce the scope. We contract with experienced engineering and architectural consultants who provide the technical assistance.

When is my application due?
The Bright Schools Program is a continuously open program with no final filing date. Program funds are limited, however, so filing promptly will help increase your chance of receiving assistance. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

How will you evaluate my application?
Before receiving assistance, applicants must meet the following program selection criteria: commitment to implementing energy efficiency recommendations, high energy cost per square footage, and potential for energy savings. The application and Governing Board Resolution must indicate how your district plans to fund the energy efficiency project recommendations.

What if I need funding for my energy saving projects?
You can apply for a low interest loan from the Energy Commission. Loans are available at competitive rates for public K-12 schools. For more information, go to


The Application Process

How do I apply for technical assistance?

  1. Complete the Technical Assistance Application. (updated: January 2, 2013)
  2. Complete Governing Board Resolution. The Energy Commission must have a resolution from your governing board before providing technical assistance. The Bright Schools Program sample resolution is available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) or as an interactive Word Document
  3. Provide Supplemental information. For all buildings or facilities that you are requesting assistance for, provide supplemental information, such as:
    • latest 12 months of gas and electric utility bills
    • past energy studies
    • preliminary plans or proposals

  4. Preliminary plans or proposals: Mail your application, governing board resolution, and supplemental information to:
    California Energy Commission
    Bright Schools Program
    Special Projects Office
    1516 Ninth Street, MS 23
    Sacramento CA 95814-5512

Program Information

How Do I Apply

Public and non-profit K-12 Schools are Eligible

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

Bright Schools Program
Special Projects Office
California Energy Commission
1516 Ninth Street, MS-23
Sacramento, CA 95814-5512
Phone: 916-654-4104