For Immediate Release: May 14, 2013
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989 or Terri Prosper 415-703-1366


New Guidance Released to Help Schools Boost
Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Department of Education today released draft guidance to help the state's schools become more energy efficient.

The document, "Energy Efficiency K-12 Project Guidance," will help schools identify cost-effective projects that meet the California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) eligibility criteria, prioritize the use of funds, and plan projects that increase energy efficiency and create jobs. Proposition 39 was approved on November 6, 2012, by the voters of California. The initiative makes changes to corporate income taxes and provides for the annual transfer of funds from the General Fund to the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund for five fiscal years, beginning with the 2013-14 fiscal year.

This guidance document can assist school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education - known as local educational agencies (LEAs) - reduce their energy bills and create better learning environments by supporting cost-effective energy efficiency projects. For the 2013-14 fiscal year, Proposition 39 funds will provide $413 million to LEAs.

Many LEAs lack easy means of identifying energy efficiency measures and renewable energy choices. This guidance document takes a clear step-by-step approach by providing an "Energy Efficiency Program Checklist" that walks school personnel through prioritized suggestions for the most cost-effective facility improvements. The document emphasizes taking energy efficiency and demand reduction measures before renewable energy projects reflecting California's preferred "loading order" of energy resources and includes health and safety improvements.

California's 10,000 public schools currently spend an estimated $700 million per year on energy, which is equivalent to the amount spent cumulatively on books and supplies. Implementing Proposition 39 funds can return energy savings back to the classroom. By reducing energy consumption through projects like smart retrofits, schools can save 20-30 percent of their energy bill over a simple payback of 5-6 years and free up as much as $140-$200 million previously spent on annual utility costs.

Schools are encouraged to consider the whole building as a system by using a hierarchy approach that identifies lower-cost, higher-savings projects that reduce baseline energy use before more complex projects are considered.

To address the diverse needs of all California school districts, the draft guidance includes a wide variety of project examples from simple lighting controls to more complex HVAC projects. Schools can identify efficient projects that best serve their needs and available funding. The guidance also provides a comprehensive list of resource references for additional information and assistance, including benchmarking and audit tools, best practices, and additional funding resources that schools may leverage. Finally, the guidance identifies ways school districts may employ job training and workforce development programs to reinvest into the green economy and create California jobs.

Update: For the latest California Clean Energy Jobs Act (Proposition 39) information, please visit

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