Seventy million dollars over 25 years – that’s the amount of money the Grossmont Union High School District expects to save because of its aggressive investments in solar energy, energy storage, energy efficiency, and advanced energy control systems.
For its impressive accomplishments in greening its facilities and lowering its energy use, the district was recently recognized at our 14th annual Energy Showcase. Every year, we hold a special awards ceremony to honor a select number of local businesses, public agencies and nonprofits for implementing exemplary energy efficiency programs and adopting energy innovations, such as renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Located in eastern San Diego County, the district consists of 12 high schools and adult education facilities with more than 20,000 students. The district took advantage of a variety of SDG&E programs to achieve energy savings, including Savings by Design whereby participants receive technical assistance and financial assistance to design and build high efficiency buildings.
Making Energy Conservation a High Priority
The district has installed solar arrays at 12 sites with the capacity to produce a total of 20 megawatts of solar energy. In addition, it has invested in nearly 7 megawatts of energy storage. Lighting upgrades, pool covers, advanced controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning are also part of the Grossmont’s energy efficiency strategy.
The district efforts do not stop with embracing technology. They extend to changing behaviors by students, staff and faculty. On days when demand on the power grid is high and critical peak pricing kicks in, the entire district makes a concerted effort to reduce energy use to avoid high energy costs.
As a result, the district has reduced its annual electric bill by $2 million and forecasts savings of $70 million over the next 25 years.
Lessons for the Future Generation
The district’s sustainability efforts have made a difference not just for the district’s bottomline. They’ve also made a difference for students. As part of the school curriculum at the IDEA Charter High School, students got to assemble solar arrays. In the process they learned all about renewable energy.
Now that’s a lesson worth learning!