Guide helps schools reduce energy use

School districts interested in saving money through energy efficiency and incorporating green practices into future construction projects may be interested in a planning guide just released by the San Diego County Office of Education.

The 43-page guide was produced with the California Center for Sustainable Energy and, while specifically targeting San Diego, is geared to any school district nationwide. The center pitches the report as a "plain language resource for understanding how to approach reducing district-wide energy consumption in schools through energy improvement projects."

It's written for facilities managers, but others can glean information from its pages. The guide spells out what it takes to reduce energy use, some of the programs that can be accessed to help pay for it and policies in California -- for instance, AB 32, or the Global Warming Solutions Act -- that make cutting greenhouse gas emissions a matter of priority.

It mentions the importance of benchmarking buildings, which means establishing a facility's energy use based on utility consumption data. And it spells out the simplest ways of going about that task through upgrades in lighting (exchanging T12 fluorescents to smaller T8s), air conditioning and other mechanical systems.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.