Each year, California schools spend approximately as much money on energy—$700 million—as they do on books and supplies.1 Education spending is a frequent point of debate among politicians and citizens, and maximizing the implementation of energy efficient technologies in school facilities could act as a way to increase education budgets without allocating additional public funds.
With that in mind, California K–12 school districts and California Community Colleges (CCC) are in the process of updating and retrofitting the mechanical and engineering systems in their schools, primarily through the implementation of Proposition 39. California's Prop. 39, also known as the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, provides the state's public schools with up to $500 million a year for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy systems. Improving the efficiency of school lighting is a priority in the effort to increase the energy efficiency of school facilities, due to its relative simplicity in comparison to retrofitting complex mechanical systems. Additionally, it is a great opportunity for school administrators to upgrade their lighting systems and take advantage of the local utility incentives available for them to do so.
As part of the Prop. 39 effort, CLTC is working to develop resources to help project managers navigate many options now available for lighting retrofits and installations. CLTC’s “Lighting Retrofit Strategies for California Schools” guide covers lighting and daylighting retrofit strategies that have consistently proven to provide the greatest long-term energy savings and lighting quality improvements on K–12 and community college campuses. CLTC also collaborated with the CCC to investigate opportunities for improving CCC curriculum and instructor knowledge with respect to lighting and energy efficiency.
1 California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center: Energy Tips for Schools