October 15th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
It’s long been clear — solar energy is super hot, fun, and exciting, but energy efficiency is really where the gold is. You mention “energy efficiency,” and many people’s brains turn off while their eyes scan for an emergency exit. However, starting with the savings and hammering them home is a good way to avoid that problem.
According to Midstate Energy, it has a contract with Cartwright Elementary School District to come up with a guaranteed $40 million in energy savings with no upfront cost. That’s $40 million in energy savings with no upfront cost. “Amidst a global pandemic, Cartwright Elementary School District and Midstate Energy, a Veregy company, have agreed on an energy savings contract that provides energy efficiency improvements and a healthier learning environment for students and faculty” — to the tune of $40 million in energy savings.
That said, part of the massive energy efficiency retrofits and installations is solar power installations. Indeed, solar energy and energy efficiency go together like bananas and peanut butter.
Cartwright Elementary School District is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Midstate Energy is an energy services company. The company has “embarked on a building revitalization project that will improve energy efficiency, comfort, and health across the district’s facilities. The project will include energy efficiency upgrades, modern building control systems, and air quality control measures to ensure the health and safety of teachers and students.”
The company points out how a time of crisis has led to identifying this opportunity. Like others across the country, the Cartwright Elementary School District has a limited budget, a budget that is getting tighter this year as it tries to handle the coronavirus crisis while also aiming to improve the environmental and health conditions at its schools. “The unexpected and rising expenses from the pandemic have presented pressing challenges for educational leadership, including how to address environmental concerns without straining an already tight budget.” Now picture an energy efficiency/energy services company CEO rubbing his hands together in eager glee as someone is finally willing to talk about energy efficiency and the massive financial savings possible. Did I mention this contract promises $40 million in savings.
“Midstate Energy’s Guaranteed Energy Performance Contracting model provided CESD a solution that generates guaranteed energy savings to offset the cost of facility upgrades,” the company writes.
“The proposed improvements for CESD include adjustable retrofitted LED lighting to enhance learning environments, water efficiency improvements that reduce consumption, and HVAC upgrades. Along with those upgrades include state-of-the-art building controls, integrated systems, and Solar Photovoltaics that will offset up to 63% of their energy consumption. This all-encompassing facility upgrade project covers 2,160,196 square feet throughout the district’s 28 sites.”
There’s also much better, easier remote observation and management of energy matters being provided for facility managers.
Naturally, there are also some coronavirus-specific components of the plan, and those improvements also provide long-term health benefits anyway. “State-of-the-art bi-polar ionization systems, with advanced air filtration features, were installed to address unique COVID-19 environmental challenges. Although this technology addresses the current pandemic, the long-term benefits of pathogen protection will contribute to CESD’s overall healthy building goals.”
For the energy freaks and climate-concerned citizens among us who pay attention to the numbers, here are expectations from the partnership:
- 400,000,000 kWh in energy savings, which translates to:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) sequestered equating to 379,248 acres of forests*
- Decreased CO2 emissions equivalent to 33,510 homes*
- Decreased CO2 emissions equivalent to 62,739 passenger vehicles*
As noted earlier today in a story about Austin Central Library saving $100,000 a year from going solar, here’s another reminder that solar power has been growing quickly across the country because of the long-term cost trend getting us to the point that solar power simply saves you money.
Solar power has been the #1 source of new power capacity in the country in 2020, contributing 37% of the country’s new power capacity in the first half of 2020. In June, it provided 60% of new power capacity. This comes after years of massive cost drops. Solar PV panels were 12 times more expensive in 2010, and 459 times more expensive in 1977. Solar is winning because solar has gotten very cheap and can now save buyers a great deal of money. That goes for schools as well as businesses and homeowners.
To learn more about Cartwright Elementary School District, please visit www.csd83.org.
*Statistics were calculated estimates from www.epa.gov based on the lifespan of the contract kWh savings.
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