Tucson Electric Power is working with more than two dozen local schools to install energy efficiency upgrades that help can reduce energy use, lower electric bills and brighten up learning environments for children.
High-efficiency lighting and other improvements are being installed at no cost to local schools through the TEP Schools Energy Efficiency Pilot Program, which was approved in February by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). The pilot program is designed to help local elementary and secondary schools that lack the financial resources to pay for energy efficiency projects. Its $1 million budget is funded by TEP customers through the demand side management surcharge on monthly bills.
TEP received applications from nine public school districts representing 196 schools and 28 charter school organizations representing 35 schools. Preference was given to schools that have not recently improved their energy efficiency and demonstrated the greatest potential for energy savings.
On-site energy assessments were performed at several schools to identify energy-saving opportunities and associated costs. Upgrade installations began last month and will continue next year. In most cases, energy-efficient light bulbs and lighting fixtures will be installed.
In addition to this new pilot program, TEP has helped more than 120 local schools identify and implement energy-saving upgrades through its Commercial Energy Solutions program. That program was launched in 2008 and covers up to 75 percent of costs for efficient chillers and HVAC equipment, variable frequency drives, room occupancy controls and other improvements. TEP also gives energy efficiency presentations and educational materials to local schools.
TEP’s customer-funded EE programs are reviewed and approved by the ACC and have been proven to be cost-effective for all customers — not just those who participate — by reducing TEP’s long-term need for new energy resources.
TEP’s EE programs have produced significant environmental benefits by helping customers to save more than 812,000 MWh — enough energy to power nearly 82,000 homes for a year.
These savings help TEP work toward the goals in Arizona’s Energy Efficiency Standard, which calls on utilities to achieve cumulative energy savings of 22 percent by 2020. Participation helps to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, resulting in reduced air emissions and water usage.
TEP provides electric service to about 417,000 customers in southern Arizona.