Students in two California school districts reduce electricity consumption by 18% and save over $16,000 during three-week competitions

October 31, 2013

Competitions using Lucid's Building Dashboard demonstrate that small actions by students can add up to big savings for districts

Parents, teachers, and students were overwhelmed with how they could make a difference in saving classroom energy dollars.

Two California school districts — Clovis Unified School District and Santee School District — saved $16,226 during three-week, district-wide electricity reduction competitions that finished earlier this month. The districts won a custom website to run their competitions by placing first place in the California K-12 Kilowatt Challenge, a statewide contest sponsored by Lucid, a California-based technology company.

During the three-week competitions, which wrapped up on Oct. 19, students, faculty, and staff in both districts competed to achieve the greatest percent reduction in their school’s electricity use by turning off lights when not needed, unplugging electronics after the school day finished, and other conservation actions. Schools participating in the Clovis Unified competition accomplished an outstanding overall percent reduction of 21.0%, which translates to saving approximately 51,700 kilowatt-hours, $8,481, and 36,200-pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Santee saw an overall reduction of 14.7%, saving approximately 35,200 kilowatt-hours, $7,745, and 24,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

“Parents, teachers, and students were overwhelmed with how they could make a difference in saving classroom energy dollars,” said Christina Becker, Director of Maintenance, Operations & Facilities at Santee School District.

In addition to posting these impressive savings, the competitions provided valuable educational opportunities, such as enabling teachers and students to understand how their behavior impacts electricity consumption and discover how conservation actions can reduce that impact.

During the competition, students, teachers, staff and parents in both districts used Building Dashboard, web-based software made by Lucid, to track competition standings and compare performance between schools. Says Becker, “Santee School District is so impressed with the potential savings this technology can inspire that we want to do energy competitions more often throughout the year.”

Red Bank Elementary finished first in Clovis’s “Reduce Your Use Energy Challenge,” with a very impressive 25.8% reduction in their electricity use. As the winning school, they’ll be receiving their own Building Dashboard with real-time electricity monitoring from Lucid, along with a cash prize of $500 from the district. Bud Rank Elementary came in second place with a 23.3% reduction, and Gateway High School rounded out the medalists in third place with a 22.8% reduction. All three schools will be recognized at an awards ceremony on November 8.

Kevin Peterson, the principal at Red Bank Elementary, used a multi-pronged strategy to assist students, staff, and teachers in reducing their use during the Challenge. During the competition he made daily announcements and sent newsletter updates to increase awareness among students and staff, and asked teachers to minimize classroom lighting when appropriate (through actions such as using daylight to supplement classroom lighting and turning off lights during recess, physical education classes, and lunch). Teachers and students were all encouraged to ensure that any electronics not being used were turned off. To reduce the amount of electricity used by the school’s air conditioning system, Peterson asked the district’s building automation system analysts to make sure the air conditioning was turned off in the school’s multipurpose room and all unoccupied classrooms as soon as school ended each day. The strategy worked, and students, teachers, and staff all pitched in to do their part conserving. Once everyone was on board, Red Bank Elementary went from last place to first place over the course of the competition.

In the Santee Save-A-Tree Energy Challenge, Pepper Drive School finished in first place with an outstanding 19.3% reduction in their electricity use. As the winning school, they’ll be receiving their very own Building Dashboard with real-time electricity monitoring from Lucid, along with four shade trees from the district. PRIDE Academy at Prospect Avenue School was on their heels in second place with a 19.2% reduction, and Rio Seco School finished a very close third place with an 18.5% reduction. All three schools were recognized at an awards ceremony on October 30 at Pepper Drive School.

About Clovis Unified School District

Clovis Unified School District (CUSD) is a high-performing, diverse suburban school district serving the Central Valley communities of Fresno and Clovis. The district’s 43 comprehensive schools serve a student population of more than 40,500 students who come from a geographic area covering about 198 square miles (510 km2). CUSD manages over 4.5 million square feet of conditioned space, operates 11 swimming pools, and maintains numerous stadiums, sports fields, and play areas on its 1,220 acres.

About Santee School District

Santee School District serves over 6,600 Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade students in the East County of San Diego. The District is comprised of nine schools, eight of which are configured as K-8 schools. The District blends innovative, instructional programs with high quality staff to produce student test scores at all schools that exceed 800 API, the State of California’s benchmark for proficiency. In 2006, the District initiated a $130 million Capital Improvement Program to modernize existing classrooms and provide new instructional facilities. To date, modernization has been completed at eight schools and five have new classroom buildings and Learning Resource Centers. The District strives to be an innovative leader in education, inspiring students to realize their unique potential.

Read the official press release