For Immediate Release: July 11, 2013
Media Contact: Kelly M. Kell - 916-654-4989


Low-Interest Loan Boosts Pittsburg Schools' Energy Efficiency
New Solar PV, Lighting and HVAC Installations Will Improve Learning Environment for Students

SACRAMENTO - To improve the energy efficiency of nine Bay Area schools and create a better learning evironment for students, the California Energy Commission has awarded the Pittsburg Unified School District a $1.8 million low-interest loan for energy upgrades.

The loan comes from the Commission's Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA) program and was approved at the Commission's July 10 business meeting. The ECAA program builds upon the Commission's efforts to lower energy use, reduce greenhouse gases and increase renewable sources of energy by supporting cost-effective energy efficiency projects.

"Pittsburg Unified is the latest school district in California to embrace an energy efficient future," said Energy Commission Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller. "This project will save the district money by installing new energy saving equipment including lights that consume less energy, require less maintenance and increase visibility for students and teachers."

With the $1,766,665 loan from the Commission and a $56,976 rebate from PG&E, Pittsburg Unified School District plans to install a 150 kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Marina Vista Elementary School. By converting sunlight to electricity, the system will meet the majority of Marina Vista’s electricity needs.

The Contra Costa County district will also retrofit interior and exterior lights using energy efficient equipment at nine schools. Interior lights will be switched to energy-saving T8 28 watt lights with electric ballasts. Exterior lights, including illuminated exit signs, will be replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

To reduce unnecessary heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) operations, occupancy sensors with door controls will be installed at Marina Vista, Los Medanos and Willow Cove elementary schools. Reducing unnecessary HVAC use is a simple way for the district to cut energy costs and save money.

These energy upgrades enable the district serving 9,800 students to save 788,148 kilowatts of electricity and 8,396 therms of natural gas or $140,586 annually in energy costs. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at 640,470 pounds per year. The simple loan payback period for this project – the time in which the savings will cover the initial costs – is approximately 12.6 years.

The Energy Commission has awarded nearly 800 ECAA loans totaling approximately $306 million to local governments, public K-12 schools and hospitals, public care institutions and other agencies as of June 2013. ECAA loans are granted at a 1 percent interest rate for the life of the loan.

For more information on the ECAA program, visit:

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The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies. For more information, visit: or

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