Funds For New Trend of Schools Announced
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For immediate release: September 14, 2001
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989

Funds For New Trend of Schools Announced

Sacramento - The California Energy Commission today announced two grants of $250,000 each to help build high performance schools in Oakland and Truckee.

High performance schools represent a new trend in school building construction. They highlight recyclable materials and energy conservation features that outperform today's building energy efficiency standards by 20 percent.

"Thomas Edison once said that it's better to enlighten the students than to light up the classroom," noted Energy Commissioner Robert Pernell. "Through our schools which are becoming more and more energy efficient, we can have the best of both worlds - we can educate our children in well-lighted, energy conscious classrooms that are highly conducive to learning."

Pernell said the grants were intended to offset some of the initial costs of designing and building the high performance schools. Such costs are recouped many times over by energy and operational savings.

Among its energy features, the Truckee Middle School is proposing to install geothermal heat pumps in lieu of air conditioners and air-to-air heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps use the depths of the earth - up to a couple of hundred feet deep where the temperatures are constant - as the source of heat in the winter or a place to reject heat in the summer.

The (Cesar Chavez) Fruitvale-San Antonio Elementary School in Oakland will incorporate daylighting, noise-reducing features and advanced equipment controls. Daylighting is a design concept that uses available daylight to reduce the need for electric lighting, while simultaneously reducing the need for space cooling.

Both schools will incorporate the use of materials such as recyclable carpets and lumber from sustainable forests and will insure adequate air quality.

A number of high performance schools have been built in California with the help of funds from the State's three major electric utilities. These schools, scattered throughout California's 16 climate zones, serve as models for school districts and building designers.

The Truckee and Oakland high performance schools - selected after a competitive process - are the first to be funded by the California Energy Commission through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy by way of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).

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