California Legislature


For Immediate Release                                   Contact: Jennifer Jacobs
April 15, 1996                                                  (916) 445-7906

State Loan Provides Sonora School District With Energy Efficiency Improvements

Assemblyman George House (R-Hughson) announced that the Sonora School District soon will install energy-efficient lighting at its Sonora Elementary School, thanks to a $45,500 low-interest loan approved by the California Energy Commission.

The improvements will save the district nearly $10,000 a year on its utility bills.

"This project is a textbook demonstration of how state and local government can work together in partnership," said Assemblyman House. The California Energy Commission is supplying the low-interest loan for these improvements. Members of the California Conservation Corps will furnish the labor. The entire cost of the project will be recouped from the energy savings that result, and the local school district will enjoy the savings for years to come."

Sonora Elementary, with approximately 900 students in grades kindergarten through eight, is the only school in the Sonora School District. This will be the first energy upgrade of the 25-year-old facility.

"We are converting every classroom, office, and staff room, the library, -- even the restrooms -- to energy efficient fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts," said Paul M. Alderete, District Superintendent. "We plan to upgrade outdoor lighting as well. When the project is completed, we will have done away with lights that hum and flicker. Our school will be brighter and more comfortable, even as we reduce our energy bills."

From the energy savings alone, the district can pay back the loan in approximately four-and-a-half years.

Some of the elementary school's teachers are using the energy project to teach their students about energy efficiency. "We have fifth graders who are learning how to read electrical meters and are finding additional ways to cut their energy use at school and at home," said Alderete.

The low-interest loan from the California Energy Commission is made through the Energy Conservation Assistance Act, which funds low-interest loans to local governments, schools and other agencies willing to invest in energy efficiency. An energy audit of the school was provided through the Bright Schools Program, established in 1986 to help finance energy-saving projects for small- to medium- sized schools.

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For additional information, contact:

Paul M. Alderete, Superintendent, Sonora School District (209) 532-5491

Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director,
California Energy Commission, (916) 654-4989

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