Garden Grove Unified School District received a statewide award for “Exemplary Leadership by a District in Zero Net Energy” at a ceremony this week at the Pasadena Convention Center. The award recognizes two zero net energy (ZNE) projects, at Ralston Intermediate School and Santiago High School, slated for completion in the summer of 2018.
Upon completion, Ralston Intermediate School will receive photovoltaic solar car ports, solar canopies above student lunch benches, and energy tracking technology with a digital display in the school’s multipurpose room. Santiago High School will also receive solar carports that will provide renewable energy for the school’s science classrooms and a giant digital display that will track real-time energy consumption. The interactive touch-screen display will allow students to observe and study energy consumption with data that is accessible on mobile devices and desktop computers. The goal for both projects is to reduce consumption with both energy efficient technologies and behavioral changes by students, teachers, and staff so that the solar panels will generate as much clean, renewable energy as the ZNE buildings use on average over a year.
GGUSD’s ZNE projects are part of California Public Utilities Company’s (CPUC) Proposition 39 ZNE for Schools Pilot Program. Funds for Prop 39, The California Clean Energy Jobs Act, are helping schools across California with the state’s goals to reduce energy use and greenhouse emissions. GGUSD’s ZNE projects are the only K-12 sites within the SCE-SoCalGas service area that were approved to participate in the CPUC’s pilot program. SCE and SoCalGas provided additional funding and technical expertise for the ZNE projects. GGUSD is working with its Prop 39 consultant Climate Resolve to manage the development and implementation of these ZNE projects at Ralston Intermediate School and Santiago High School.
The award was presented by the New Buildings Institute to GGUSD for showing great leadership as a district, despite limited facilities funding and resources. GGUSD is one of the nation’s largest school districts with approximately 43,000 students, 70 percent of which are eligible for free and reduced price meals. As a large, low-income district, GGUSD is showing that, under the right circumstances, any school district can achieve ZNE.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with GGUSD on these ZNE school projects, which fulfill Climate Resolve’s mission to help foster climate-related innovation in Southern California, particularly in low-income communities,” says Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve.
The GGUSD serves most of Garden Grove as well as portions of Anaheim, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Stanton and Westminster.