The idea that some things improve with age doesn’t necessarily apply to facilities like public schools, which often need to replace or retrofit aging equipment for optimum functioning. This was the case last year for David Douglas High School, a vintage 1954, 270,000-square foot facility serving a suburban community in east Portland. In 2017, David Douglas High School’s north campus was using about 25 percent more energy than other schools in the area, due to aging equipment.
Fortunately, resources are available to help. The Oregon Department of Energy administers funds that school districts can use to make their facilities more energy efficient. Schools can also access Energy Trust incentives for additional energy efficiency projects, leading to larger projects and potentially more jobs for Energy Trust trade allies.
David Douglas had already nearly exhausted funding through Oregon Department of Energy, but the school still had access to Energy Trust incentives. They also had an existing relationship with Clima-Tech, one of Energy Trust’s Allied Technical Assistance Contractors (ATACs); firms that provide technical studies to help identify energy saving projects. Through Clima-Tech, Energy Trust was also included in early planning to help identify all available savings and incentive opportunities. The resulting project included an upgraded direct digital control system with an Energy Trust incentive of $193,740, estimated annual energy savings of $45,000, projected annual operations and maintenance savings of nearly $24,000 and improved comfort for students and staff. Energy Trust will also help the district monitor its energy use in coming months to ensure savings are in line with projections.
Eligibility for K-12 projects can be complicated, but Energy Trust’s K-12 schools team can help. They work with districts around Oregon to coordinate available funding resources for energy efficiency projects.