California’s Division of the State Architect (DSA) encourages schools and school districts to follow the Grid Neutral Schools initiative. A “Grid Neutral” site is defined as one which produces as much electricity as its buildings use annually. Grid Neutral is an excellent place to start in the pursuit of zero net energy. PG&E has free programs and services to help your school implement each step of its Grid Neutral plan.
Prior to implementing on-site electricity production, a school must first maximize energy efficiency and conserve energy to limit electricity usage.
Establish energy performance goals—establish a baseline and an energy management master plan. Learn how to benchmark facility energy use.
- New school – Set performance goals beginning with high-performance design.
- Existing school – Measure current electricity use, set performance goals and implement measures in accordance with the energy master plan.
Implement and maintain energy efficiency and conservation measures to lower electricity use.
- For retrofit applications, audit high use buildings or systems to identify projects, rebates and incentives. For PG&E Energy Analyzers & Audits, call 1-800-468-4743
- Develop energy efficient design for new schools and building renovations. For design/construction criteria and operation of green buildings, refer to:
- Create conservation policies and a master plan for energy management
- Implement maintenance and operations best practices
- Install smart and simple energy efficiency measures (e.g., vending misers, LED exit signs, bi-level stairwell lighting)
- Implement energy efficiency retrofits (e.g., de-lamp, install efficient lamps/ ballasts, tune up HVAC)
- A potential for no capital investment by using external power purchase agreements (PPA).
- Federal and state incentives are offered for solar which makes investments attractive for third party PPA holders.
- A school site may receive credit if it generates more electricity than it consumes.
Maintain energy systems and monitor electricity consumption and production.