Wednesday, April 1st, Ted Flanigan was a featured speaker at the California Association of School Building Officials (CASBO) annual conference in San Diego. Ted’s talk covered technological and behavioral energy efficiency on k-12 campuses, then delved deeply into the energy/water/carbon nexus and the role of students, their families and communities in climate protection. CASBO’s 2015 Annual Conference brought 1,500 school district officials to the San Diego Convention Center to share best practices and to learn.

Introduced by GGUSD colleagues Jerry Hills and Kevin Heerschap, Ted laid out the District’s plans and progress with smart energy management. Catalyzed by Proposition 39 funds – some $15 million over five years – EcoMotion has been instrumental in crafting a Five Year Smart Energy Management Plan for the District that goes well beyond efficiency retrofits. The Plan explores opportunities in five forms of performance contracting, focuses on research and applications for grants (such as DROPS, a drought tolerant initiative funded by the California State Water Resources Control Board), and now linking facilities upgrades with student sustainability initiatives and programs. We’re now looking at advanced energy storage systems funded in California by the Self Generation Incentive Program. By tapping all these resources, the value of Prop 39 allocations can be amplified.

Recently, EcoMotion submitted GGUSD’s first Energy Expenditure Plan to fund comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits at three high schools and two elementary schools in Garden Grove. The retrofits will replace every light bulb at each school – upgrading all with LEDs – will entail comprehensive pool efficiency measures (pumps, drives, heaters, covers), and HVAC replacements. Educational dashboards are also integrated into the Plan, enabling student competitions and other applied -earning activities. Now EcoMotion is exploring the value of energy storage on GGUSD campuses, aimed at limiting peak demands to lower power bills by lowering demand charges so that more money can be spent on education and less on utilities.

The sun was shining in San Diego. Its Convention Center graces the waterfront, its promenade along the harbor, its view of Coronado Island. I listened with rapt attention to motivational speaker Connie Pedosta. Her group personal test was fun and surprisingly invaluable. Each of us had to identify which shape our personality was most like. Yes, we all do have different personality types that can be generalized. She segregated self-selected groups of squares, triangles, circles and squiggles. And each of us was celebrated and lambasted! We’ll all now be thinking of our partners, children, co-workers, bosses, and employees in this simple, unscientific but invaluable, shapely new light. These are useful stereotypes to understand and to work with to advantage.

CASBO’s Expo Hall was alive with energy, exhibitors vending the full spectrum of needs on campuses… everything from buses, to band instruments, food, security and communications systems, and turf. Solar companies were there… including SunEdison with its aggregated solar pricing for schools. I chatted with a rep from Panasonic about his company’s new E-21 offering. Panasonic is selling solar by wrapping electronic classrooms into PPA prices. I visit several sessions, from a lively session on the politics of school facility bond funding, to mundane yet important functions like payroll and human resources. CASBO was packed with information and inspiration.

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