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Energy Solutions: A Guide for Schools and Universities

Viewpoint School Earns A+ in Enhancing Sustainability and Saving Nearly 87,000 kWhs

Viewpoint participated in Savings By Design (SBD), a program that encourages high-performance, non-residential building design and construction to help maximize energy performance in new and upgraded building projects. Through this program, Viewpoint performed building improvements with efficient glazing measures, upgraded HVAC systems with modulating economizers and variable frequency drives (VFDs) to bring in the fresh air, occupancy sensors and more energy-efficient lighting. The school received nearly $10,800 in incentives for energy efficiency upgrades and bill credits of $6,600 during Summer Advantage Incentive (also known as Critical Peak Pricing) events from 2011 through 2013. With Time-Of-Use rates in effect, it’s worth taking advantage of similar energy-saving strategies.
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Business Energy Advisor

Your business has unique energy needs, and we have customized recommendations to help you manage them. Take a survey to get information about your equipment and energy use habits, and then build an energy plan to help you achieve greater energy efficiency and better manage your bottom line.

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Finance Your Energy-Efficient Projects

State Funding for Energy-Smart Schools California is already one of the most energy aware and eco active states in the country. Now, the state is offering funding to make our schools more energy efficient—which means upgrades to your buildings and savings that can be spent on education instead of electricity.

Your school can take advantage of Proposition 39 right now, with enhanced savings from existing incentives for short-term updates and long-term savings. What is Proposition 39?

Several schools and universities have already taken advantage of energy-efficient equipment. To help your school receive these same cost-efficient benefits, we offer low-interest financing for qualified energy-efficient projects.

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Energy-Efficient Solutions and Tips for Schools

Here are just a few of the energy programs and suggestions proven to increase cost efficiency. You’ll also find more energy-efficient solutions in our Schools and Universities Fact Sheet and a complete list of all our qualifying energy-efficiency incentives and demand response programs by requesting our Solutions Directory.

Thinking of making your business more energy efficient? We’ve compiled a Contractor & Vendor Directory that connects you with the help you need. From lighting supply wholesalers to refrigeration specialists and even whole building consultants, these are the professionals that can help you reduce energy and costs.

Your facilities may already qualify for incentives that could put these energy-saving improvements into effect.


Maximize your energy-saving by effectively managing your air-conditioning systems.

  • Install programmable thermostats
  • Install window film and blinds to keep the heat out
  • Switch to LED bulbs and decrease the amount of building heat and A/C energy use
  • Sign up for HVAC maintenance
  • Perform routine maintenance on heating and A/C filters, belts, coils and bearings
  • Increase insulation in walls and ceilings when possible
  • Install sensory controllers on vending machines or shut them down for a short period

There are many more energy-efficient solutions.

Energy-Efficient Equipment

  • Purchase equipment that more effectively manages your energy use
  • Upgrade to high-efficiency office equipment, including laptops, which use less than a third of the energy of a desktop
  • Install load-sensing or occupancy-sensing plug strips to make it easier for your staff to power down
  • Install PC network software to automatically control the power setting of networked computers
  • Install water-conserving toilets and faucets in bathrooms
  • Replace older, less water-efficient equipment
  • Install new, water-efficient commercial equipment to minimize water demand
  • Change process water system to reuse processed wastewater

Your schools can benefit from even more energy-efficient equipment options.

Motors and Compressors

Motor-driven equipment—such as pumps, air compressors and fans—can consume a large amount of energy. Making motors and compressors more efficient could reduce your energy costs.

Here are some ways to control your costs:

  • Install automatic shut-off devices to reduce peak demand
  • Install small air compressors for low-use periods
  • Install sequencing controls on multiple-unit compressor systems
  • Install variable-frequency drives to control motor speed on swimming pool/spa pumps
  • Replace old motors with high-efficiency motors
  • Practice preventive maintenance on motor systems
  • Optimize system efficiency through smart SCADA controls, condensers, premium efficient motors, compressors and compressed air

Your school may already qualify for incentives that could put these energy-saving improvements into effect.

Lighting and Lighting Controls

Help improve your energy efficiency by better managing your lighting costs.

With an instant start-up in low temperatures, LEDs can facilitate occupancy controls and provide better lighting quality than fluorescents, and can save up to 20 to 40 percent more refrigeration energy.*

  • Use LED bulbs and LED exit signs
  • Install dimmable ballasts to lower energy use in fluorescent lamps
  • Install inexpensive occupancy sensors
  • Install sensory controllers on vending machines

Your facilities may already qualify for incentives that could put these energy-saving improvements into effect.

Demand Response Programs (DR)

With these programs, receive bill credits for temporarily reducing energy use upon request during periods of high-energy demand. Choose the ones that best fit your operational needs.

Automated Demand Response (Auto-DR)

Receive energy savings by using smart technology that effortlessly and temporarily reduces the amount of energy your business uses (known as “load reduction”) during a DR event. With Auto-DR, load reduction is automatic and reliable, so it’s easier to participate in DR programs to capitalize on program earnings and help lower your energy costs.

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No-Cost, Do-It-Yourself Tips

Here are some immediate ways to significantly reduce your energy use:

Tips Hide Tips
  • Utilize day lighting options and reduce lighting levels
  • Turn off unnecessary indoor lighting, signs, and office equipment
  • Shut down unused rooms and facilities
  • Pre-cool campus buildings/classrooms or cycle air conditioning and ventilation
  • Raise cooling thermostat settings
  • Inspect weather stripping for deterioration or gaps around doors and windows
  • Charge batteries and battery-operated equipment before noon and after 6 p.m.
  • Reschedule dishwashing before noon and after 6 p.m.
  • Turn off commercial ice machines and decorative fountains before noon and after 6 p.m.
  • Enable lower power mode setting for computers, monitors, and imaging equipment
  • Engage staff; make sure they understand why, when, and how to power down
  • Encourage staff to minimize printing to reduce energy
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