MONTEREY, CA (February 24, 2003) – In a combined effort to slash utility costs and improve student performance, the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District recently implemented a district-wide retrofit of the lighting systems in its buildings. By incorporating the latest lighting technologies and practices, the district expects to save $342,000 annually. The district serves a diverse population of more than 12,000 students across 23 campuses.
“The lighting in our facilities was old and inefficient,” said Jim Burnis, the district’s Chief Business Officer. “We realized we were paying way too much, and at the same time the quality of the lighting in our classrooms and offices was often inadequate or not matched to the task at hand. That’s not conducive to good learning.”
By working with industry experts Siemens Building Technologies and Sun Energy Solutions, Monterey Schools is bringing its 50-year old lighting system into the 21st century. “So far the difference is amazing,” Burnis stated. “We’re confident that the improved lighting is going to help our kids learn, and the savings on our utility bills makes it even sweeter.”
“Student learning and test scores can significantly increase with good lighting,” points out Stan Walerczyk Director of Lighting at Sun Energy Solutions. “The new lamps we’re installing have much better color rendition, which make colors, textures, lines and edges much more realistic. The new electronic ballasts eliminate the lamp flicker and buzz of the old magnetic ballasts.”
Monterey Schools is installing these advanced lighting upgrades at a dramatically reduced price thanks to RightLights, a local program implemented by Ecology Action of Santa Cruz. The rebates received through the program are subsidizing a substantial portion of the project’s cost. “Since the size of the RightLights rebate is based on energy savings,” Walerczyk continued, “we were able to use higher performance components that give an additional 15% energy savings and reduce maintenance costs by 60%.” With educational budgets shrinking statewide, these added benefits represented a real plus for the project.
The RightLights Program helps small businesses and other qualified non-residential electrical customers in the Tri-Counties to cut their utility bills by upgrading their inefficient lighting systems. The program is funded by California utility ratepayers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. RightLights offers free lighting surveys, reduced-cost retrofits, free Quick-Saver packages worth up to $250, and rebates that can cover up to 100% of project costs. In its first few months the program has already helped 100 small businesses cut their lighting bills by up to 50%, with the goal of helping 500 more by the end of 2003.
“We’re excited that Monterey Schools chose to take advantage of RightLights,” notes Gene Thomas, who manages the program for Ecology Action. “The district gets the largest rebate possible, which frees up resources that they can use to educate the kids. They’ll save hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly, reduce pollution and enjoy better lighting. It’s a win-win proposition for everyone.”
For more information about the RightLights Program, call 888-846-5050 or visit www.rightlights.org.