PACE specifically refers to the property assessed clean energy model of financing. It was designed to afford private property owners the opportunity (and funds) required to make the shift to an energy-efficient lifestyle. In fact, the program is available for residential and commercial properties alike. A PACE program for residential property is commonly referred to as R-PACE or Residential PACE. Likewise, PACE programs intended for commercial properties are known as C-PACE or Commercial Pace.
Generally speaking, PACE programs are enabled through state legislation. This means that you’ll be going through your local government level for authorization. You may need to anticipate dealing with your municipality in order to get into a PACE program; but the actual groups that you’ll work with vary from location to location. In some cases, municipalities do administer their own PACE programs directly; in others, public-private partnerships with PACE providers might be involved.
To reap the benefits of a PACE program, three basic requirements must be met:
PACE programs are ideal for major energy projects. A project must call for at least $100,000 in costs before PACE funding becomes available. The upside to this is there’s absolutely no maximum cost for improvements; even the most expensive projects can be PACE-funded.
Common energy-efficient building improvement projects which are carried out across the nation thanks to PACE include:
If you’re looking to make energy efficient improvements to your school regardless of funding source, PACE is a clear choice over other financing options. The loan will be repaid over time as part of an annual assessment on the school’s property taxes, meaning that you’ll start seeing net savings from energy efficiency improvements long before you would if you opted for a traditional loan.
PACE financing also tends to offer lower interest rates than those of alternative energy efficiency loans. This is because of the nature of the payments mentioned above — making payments based on property taxes is a far more secure method of payment that what’s offered in traditional loan scenarios. The obvious translation? Lower interest.
Saving money on interest and financing itself is excellent — but seeing the long-term payoffs of your decision feels even better. Most property values increase following the implementation of energy-efficient appliances and structuration, too.
C-PACE allows building owners to take control of energy costs and actively work towards saving money on repairs, utilities, and other related costs. In today’s world, countless schools often operate underfunded on shoestring budgets. Taking steps to craft lower, more predictable energy costs will allow your school’s administration to focus on what really matters: the education and well-being of the children who come to school day in and day out to learn.
If you’re interested in learning more about the qualification process for PACE financing and the savings that a PACE-funded project has to offer, get in contact with us today. Our friendly and knowledgeable team are eager to speak with you about how funding energy efficient programs through C-PACE will benefit your school. From executive staff down through to your student body, everybody who’s a part of your school’s ecosystem will benefit from a PACE project.
With energy efficiency becoming an increasingly hot-button topic, many schools find themselves inching closer to taking the plunge and dropping some cash to help their campuses become more eco-friendly. What many don’t know, however, is that opting for energy efficient solutions in schools does a lot more good than just cutting costs or helping out the environment. Everybody benefits from energy efficient solutions.
When schools make strides to become more energy efficient, they also provide their students with a better, healthier learning environment. Getting more eco-friendly systems into place can help the kids who attend school more than you might think.
A decision to upgrade to LED lighting, for example, can impact student performance and behavior. LED lights reduce issues associated with traditional lighting solutions like glare and flickering. For some children, these seemingly innocuous issues can result in vision problems; and many students with Autism have been shown to be exceptionally sensitive to flickering light.
Once these annoyances are out of the picture, students can focus, get concentrated, and may exhibit improved mood and behavior.
Anything that helps kids focus and perform better is going to help teachers do their jobs. When instructors work in a healthy and productive environment, they’re able to provide a more well-rounded and beneficial education for their students. They’re also likely to work with more motivation.
Some teachers also elect to use a school’s increasing awareness of energy efficiency as a springboard into curriculum. Not only do teachers and kids benefit from the tangible rewards of going green — but teachers also get an extra opportunity to teach their students valuable lessons that they’ll carry with them through the rest of their lives.
Working energy efficient technology into a school makes school grounds safer for everybody. When HVAC systems are upgraded, for example, air quality is improved; that’s a clear benefit for anybody who’s regularly inside of school buildings.
Even quick and easy fixes, like swapping out old lights for LEDs, can help improve campus safety. Teachers, parents, students, and other faculty alike can all feel safer walking to and from their vehicles if parking lots feature bright and consistent LED lighting.
When a school chooses to implement energy efficient solutions, it’s really about benefiting the people inside of it. A facility may look shiny and new when it’s outfitted with brand-new fixtures, but looks fade; the benefits to be had from going green will continue to impact those who are on the ground inside of that school for decades to come.
Some of the more tangible benefits of adopting an energy efficient setup include:
Beyond benefits such as these, schools who place emphasis on energy efficiency often receive positive attention — be it from the press, the community, or local businesses. States who have a vested interested in energy efficiency may even prompt government or other high-ranking officials to get involved with recognition; and that goes a long way.
In the average K-12 budget, the only cost higher than that of energy is relegated to personnel. Studies have shown that when schools decide to take on an energy efficient face-lift, they may be able to recoup as much as 25% of their energy costs — that amounts to a sizable lump of cash.
Savings like these benefit the school and its staff, but they can also benefit the community further:
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of implementing energy efficient solutions, contact us today. Our knowledgeable and friendly representatives are eager to speak with you and develop custom solutions to meet your individual and unique needs.
Tipp City, Ohio (July 15, 2019)—Van Wert City Schools, in partnership with Energy Optimizers, USA, is poised to launch a sweeping energy and security improvement project that is expected to save the district more than $115,000 annually.
Starting this month, Energy Optimizers, USA, will begin work to:
The project is expected to wrap up by mid-August, before the start of school.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Energy Optimizers, USA, on a project that will not only improve our energy performance, but also the quality of our classrooms and auditorium,” said Vicki Brunn, Superintendent. “The savings we attain from these relatively simple measures will be channeled directly into the innovative programs that make our district—and community—stand at a level above the rest.”
The school district’s biggest payback will come from the lighting retrofits. The new lighting will deliver savings of up to 75 percent over the existing fluorescent technology. It will also last five to six times longer than the district’s current lighting systems.
The LED lighting systems will also improve the classroom experience for students and staff alike. State-of-the-art flat-panel LED systems offer sleek, low-profile lighting without the hum and flicker associated with fluorescents. The flat-panel LEDs also allow for stronger light distribution than fluorescents while the fixtures provide full dimming capabilities, features that are in high demand in educational settings.
The district will also realize significant savings from the upgraded lighting and HVAC controls. This component will include occupancy and daylight sensors to reduce wasted electricity as well as controls and programming upgrades to maximize the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems.
When combined, all of the energy conservation measures will be equivalent to removing 177 cars from the road or saving 271 acres of trees.
“Best of all—we will do this without needing to request additional funds from our taxpayers,” Brunn said.
VWCS will use the LED Lighting and Energy Savings Program through the Ohio Council of Educational Purchasing Consortia (OCEPC). This program will enable the district to make these cost-cutting improvements at no additional expense to taxpayers while ensuring the best possible pricing.
“Van Wert City Schools has received well-earned accolades at the local, state and national levels for academic innovation and performance,” said Greg Smith, founder of Energy Optimizers, USA. “This project is a natural reflection of the district’s application of evidence-based strategies in pursuit of better results. In this case, those results will take the form of measurably lower utility bills and more funding for classrooms.”
About Energy Optimizers, USA
Energy Optimizers, USA works with educational, governmental, commercial and industrial customers to implement energy savings opportunities to reduce operational costs, including lighting retrofits, renewable energy projects (wind and solar), HVAC retrofit projects, building automation retrofits and energy education programs. The company was named to the INC. Magazine Top 500 list of fastest growing companies in the U.S. (2014), was named the Fastest Growing Company in the region for two consecutive years by the Dayton Business Journal (2013, 2014), and was named a finalist in the Dayton Business Journal Best Places To Work competition in 2016. To learn more about Energy Optimizers, USA, visit their website at http://energyoptusa.com or call them at (937) 877-1919.
Everyone always talks about the power bill when green policies are the subject; but electricity isn’t the only bill you can save money on environmentally responsible policies. Considering the water table, the supply of fresh water, and the cost of piping water into your building, there are a surprising number of ways to significantly reduce the amount of water your building uses.
Aerating faucets, for instance, disperse the water over a wider area. This makes the water flow more slowly reducing the chance of waste. Coffee pots may fill a little more slowly in the break room but it will be easier to wash hands.
Point-of-service water heaters are another incredibly useful green school improvement on both the power and water level. These can notably reduce the amount of time it takes to warm up water at the sink. Because heat is lost when water pipes away from a heater, you can save energy by reducing that distance.
Lastly, the way you landscape can save a lot of water. The suggestions we made previously can cut the amount of sprinkling necessary all year long. (This included using sturdy local plants that are happy with the amount of rainfall in your region; and doing a lot of gravel-scaping.)
An organization that takes no interest in what or how their staff eats will wind up with a lot of food packaging in the trash. Cup noodles and TV dinner are the vast majority of what people bring to work; they’re easy to prepare and eat quickly in a break room. However, when combining staff wellness and environmentally friendly policies (two things that are implemented together quite often), it’s easy to find ways to feed everyone healthy food and practically eliminate the lunch break trash issue.
Many organizations order catered lunch for their staff. However, this usually includes heaps of plastic bags, disposable silverware, and individually packaged meals. All that will wind up in the trash. Not even the recycle bin. Instead, try buying a variety of healthy groceries, pans, and dishes. Encouraging staff to cook for themselves is a great way to promote food variety, health, and reduce waste.
Another aspect of environmental practices is to think about ways to use less gasoline. According to tradition, keeping track of multiple schools requires regularly visiting these locations and driving out to one if something comes up. From district superintendents to consultants, you can save a lot of gas and the associated travel expenses of lost time and road food by relying on video conferences instead. This turns what could be several dollars or more each trip to an almost free interaction.
Perhaps it’s time to redecorate classrooms, put in more desks, or expand into the next section of your building. There is always a certain amount of expense in terms of furniture. While your initial inclination may be to buy new out of a catalog, stop and think for a moment. There are many reputable outlets for used furniture that has been treated well and inspected to ensure that it is just as high quality as what you could buy directly from the manufacturer at a much lower cost.
Recycling is green in every aspect; buying used furniture is an interesting way to turn the school green without changing anything about quality or experience. The only sign in your school that you purchase used furniture will be the bottom line. As long as your faculty are happy about the new furniture, you can feel good knowing that the school simultaneously saved money and contributed to the no-waste culture of not tossing perfectly good furniture.
And, of course, we saved the most obvious savings for last. There are dozens of popular ways to go green that can significantly reduce the amount of power your property needs to run without cutting into your workflow and efficiency. LED light bulbs and fixture replacements require far less electricity than incandescent or gas-tube style lighting and burn cooler meaning they are also safer to be near and interact with. Smart devices and sensors can turn off lights in unoccupied rooms for you and handle the thermostat so your HVAC runs more optimally. You can even use a combination of smart outlets and power strips to quickly eliminate phantom load.
And, of course, the addition of solar panels and battery banks can actually generate new sustainable energy and offset the amount of power you need to buy from the utility company or a retail supplier. With the right battery strategy, you can even augment your power use during peak hours to reduce your monthly demand pricing charges. Going green has never been so good for your budget.
For more ideas on how to optimize your energy use and save money for your school, contact us today!
Energy Optimizers, USA, LLC specializes in developing, engineering, and implementing energy efficiency, facility improvement, and solar projects for educational, governmental, and commercial customers. Our goal is to reduce our clients’ costs while saving the environment.
We emphasize ethics, honesty, customer service, and education with our customers, associates, vendors, contractors, and partners. We are committed to providing our services in a professional manner at a fair profit margin that exceeds the expectations of our customers.
Our Project Development team is looking to add a full-time Senior Energy Engineer to join our fast-paced company. Our new office in downtown Dayton is easily accessible and our entrepreneurial team culture provides a positive and rewarding growth opportunity for all Associates.
Every year, we increase our demand for environmentally friendly practices. More and more organizations and businesses are examining their current practices; they’re looking for ways to either decrease their environmental impact or eliminate it entirely. From choosing only new-growth lumber suppliers to energy efficiency in the offices, every effort a company takes to be environmentally responsible is another positive point in the eyes of the customers and industry as a whole. Some big names like Whole Foods have built a powerful reputation; much of their customer base is due to their central premise of environmentally responsible policies.
But environmental policies have a lot more to offer than good PR. One of the major reasons so many organizations have taken an environmental approach to management: ‘green’ thinking is naturally conservative. When trying to waste less, you think about making the most of every resource your company spends money on. By trying to reduce your school’s environmental impact, you find yourself looking for more cost-effective ways to achieve what the school may have been doing on automatic for years.
Most schools and businesses are familiar with ways to achieve energy efficiency. This has been the major focus of environmentally friendly talk for both residential and public buildings. Today we’re going to go beyond the power bill; we’ll take a look at many other ways to lower your school’s overhead with environmentally friendly practices.
Consider the amount of trash that your school hauls out every week. Does your school pay for trash disposal by weight? Are you regularly over-filling your dumpster with paper and disposables? Environmentally responsible practices can significantly reduce the amount of waste you produce and the cost of dealing with it. Splitting your trash between waste and recycle is only the beginning. But actually thinking about minimizing the use of disposable packaging and making use of things that might normally be thrown away can significantly reduce the amount of waste you produce.
Methods to reduce your waste can often also double as saving money on office supplies. If, for instance, you are constantly throwing away or recycling cardboard boxes, consider looking into sturdy reusable plastic bins instead. You could even develop a box-trading system with vendors and partners also interested in environmental policies.
What about when the printer makes a mistake or prints that extra mostly-blank page? Keep a stack of one-side-used printer paper for scratch paper and temporary printing tasks.
The attitude you take when choosing your school landscaping significantly influences not only the cost of the initial design implementation but the upkeep throughout the year as well. Some organizations take the opinion that appearance is everything as long as the planting phase isn’t overly expensive. However, importing plants that are better suited to other climates will need more watering, tending, and protecting from non-ideal weather. Organizations are much more likely to consider the value of regionally native plants which thrive in local soil and climate; especially when thinking ‘environmentally friendly’.
Another consideration is that trees, bushes, and flowers can all be beautiful and oxygen producing without the hassle and expense of maintaining a lush green lawn that nobody walks on. You can still have beautiful landscaping with colored gravel or wood chips over the expenses; gravel doesn’t need to be watered, fertilized, and discourages insect activity.
One benefit that few companies see coming when they implement recycling, conservation, and more creative green policies is how much the employees love it. Everyone likes to work toward a purpose and going green adds purpose to almost every activity throughout the day. Even cleaning up after lunch is more purposeful because it feels good to remember to recycle, or choose meals that don’t include disposable packaging. Working together and thinking of new ways to save power, water, paper, or reuse things that would have been thrown away is fun and adds a new dynamic to the everyday office routine.
By making environmental responsibility your new policy and getting everyone involved in the effort, you will likely notice an increase in mood, productivity, and cooperation. If you want to enhance this increased morale, bring a few green plants into the office as well. The additional oxygen and mood-lifting benefit of plant life will continue to improve the morale benefits of green policies.
There are a number of federal and state tax incentives available for taking on green practices. The best known is the available tax deduction for the costs of installing your own solar panels. Whatever size of solar installation suits your school and building, the government will refund you 30% of the cost in taxes. If you happen to have the opportunity to invest in geothermal, you can get a 10% tax deduction for these costs as well.
Reducing your school’s energy consumption by installing highly efficient new lights and appliances can also qualify for a tax credit. Providing that you achieve a 50% or greater reduction in energy costs, you may qualify for up to $1.80 per square foot of improved building space. Even if you achieve 16.666~% or greater, you can get a $0.60 deduction per square foot.
For more ideas on how to optimize your commercial real estate and save money for your school, contact us today!
Energy Optimizers, USA, LLC specializes in developing, engineering, and implementing energy efficiency and energy savings projects for educational, governmental and commercial customers. Our goal is to reduce our clients’ costs while saving the environment.
Energy Optimizers, USA emphasizes ethics, honesty, customer service, and education with its associates, vendor partners, and customers. We are committed to providing our services in a professional, honest manner and to exceed the expectations of our customers.
Our Project Development team is looking to add a full-time Energy Engineer to join our fast-paced company. Our new office in downtown Dayton is easily accessible and our unique team culture provides a positive and rewarding growth opportunity for all associates.
Please email your resume and cover letter to email@example.com or mail to:
Energy Optimizers, USA
632 E. First Street
Dayton, OH 45402
For many school districts, the monthly energy bill is an ongoing source of stress. Funds are tight everywhere, and every dollar spent on energy is one that can’t be spent elsewhere. Are you trying to reduce energy costs throughout your school? If so, there are several strategies that you can use to make it easier.
Installing smart light switches in every room in the school may seem like a major investment; it’s one which will quickly pay off over time, however. Think about it: students and teachers often fail to turn off the lights when they leave the room, especially when they’re in bathrooms and other common areas. What about the gym or the cafeteria: are they fully lit even when there’s no one in the room? By installing smart lights with motion sensors, you can significantly reduce energy usage – and watch the bill come down with it. When people are in the room, talking and moving around, the lights stay on. On the other hand, if the sensors detect no motion for a period of time, the lights will turn off. And you’ll experience energy savings.
Like smart light switches, smart thermostats do involve an up-front investment. However, it’s one that can save quite a bit of money on energy costs over the coming years. With a smart thermostat, you can set the temperature for different times of the day. When there are people actively in the school, the temperature sits at a comfortable level that won’t have students shivering in winter or frying in summer. When no one is in the building, however, the temperature can increase or decrease, based on the season. You keep providing climate control, which means that the pipes won’t freeze during the cold winter months and it won’t take too long to heat things up or cool them down once students return to the building, but you don’t have to keep paying for climate control when there’s no one around to care, either.
Quick: how many of your teachers actually turn off their computers when they leave at the end of the school day? How many of them leave them on, citing long boot-up times and increased frustration as the most common reason? While one computer draining energy throughout the night, when the school isn’t open, probably won’t use that much energy, the hundreds of computers throughout your building probably do! Make sure that devices in the computer labs and individual teacher classrooms are turned off each night and over the weekend. Reward teachers who are able to keep up with this simple change to help encourage the behavior.
What light bulbs are you using throughout your classrooms and in your outside lights? What about the appliances in the school kitchens: when was the last time they were replaced? Technology is constantly improving – and one of those improvements is a drive to use less energy, which means that the appliance can operate at a lower level of expense. While you may not be able to replace all of your old or outdated technology immediately, you may be able to replace several of those pieces over time, creating a less wasteful environment.
If you really want to get your energy costs down, get your students involved! Encourage them to take an active role in decreasing energy use throughout the building, whether that means turning off the lights until you can get those smart switches installed or looking for ways to decrease energy use in their classrooms. Make it a challenge! Offer rewards or let students see how much their efforts have managed to decrease energy use. Their innovations and suggestions might surprise you.
If you want to decrease energy use throughout your school, it may be helpful to start with an energy audit that will help you assess potential drains on the energy in the building. Ready to get started? Contact us today to learn how we can help.
Solar power is one of the most exciting and promising technologies of our time. According to information released by the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2017 alone, solar power produced 17 billion dollars for the American economy. With the solar market booming and the price of solar technology as low as ever, there is no better time to get on the solar energy bandwagon. Here we’ll take a look at a few ways you can take advantage of this compelling new technology.
Rooftop solar is becoming increasingly feasible for schools and businesses across the United States. There’s a reason why you see solar panels almost everywhere you go these days. It’s because solar technology is powerful and cost-effective. However, there are several things that you’ll need to consider before having solar panels installed. First, you need to consider how much shade your area gets. Solar panels will be useless if you have trees casting long shadows over your school.
Where you’re located in the country will also play a role. Whether or not solar energy is feasible for you will partially depend on the current electricity prices in your area. Don’t worry too much if you live in a cloudy area. Contrary to popular belief, you can still take advantage of solar power even if you aren’t in a sunny climate. Solar isn’t always the best option for everyone; speak with an expert to get the best possible advice on your unique situation.
While there are various ways to finance solar panels, one popular method is the power purchase agreement. Under a power purchase agreement, you buy the solar energy rather than the entire system. In other words, another company owns the panels on your roof and you purchase the energy that is collected from them. This is a good option if you’re wary about the initial investment of buying a solar power system.
One way to implement solar technology on a small scale is to install exterior lighting that runs off solar power. Think about how much sunlight your parking lots and outdoor areas get. If this energy could be harnessed and stored in exterior lighting such as streetlights, this could potentially help you save a large chunk of cash on the electricity bill. Luckily, such technologies exist! The beauty of exterior solar lighting is that you can take advantage of that extra solar energy that otherwise would have gone to waste. Not only will you be saving money with an energy efficient solution, but you’ll also make the property around your school safer for nighttime pedestrians.
It sounds like a trivial measure, but the truth is that when it comes to energy savings, every little bit helps. Many companies offer solar powered calculators, which can be a handy solution for students and staff, who won’t constantly have to replace batteries. You might also consider encouraging the use of solar chargers for devices such as laptops and cell phones. Having these types of gadgets can teach students about energy efficiency at an early age. In addition, it will make them appreciate the fact that their energy doesn’t just come from nowhere.
At Energy Optimizers, USA, we help school districts develop cost-effective and energy efficient solutions. To learn how we can help your school save money, please feel free to contact us. Our experts can help you determine the best energy efficiency solutions for your particular situation. By taking advantage of the many benefits of solar energy, not only can you save your school district money, but you’ll also be setting a good example to students and to the community at large.
The U.S. Department of Education today released the names of the 2019 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools, District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees.
Across the country, 35 schools, 14 districts, and four postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to address the three “Pillars” of the program: reducing environmental impact and utility costs, improving health and wellness, and ensuring effective sustainability education. A state education official is also being recognized for his efforts to advance school sustainability in the state of Minnesota.
“I want to congratulate this year’s U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School honorees,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “They have truly embraced the challenge to create healthy, safe, sustainable and efficient learning environments for students, faculty, and staff. Their innovative approaches to learning will help students prepare for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century.”
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states. The selectees include 25 public schools – among them, three magnet schools and two charter schools – as well as 10 nonpublic schools. Thirty-six percent of the 2019 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body.
The list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, can be found here. A report with highlights on the 53 honorees can be found here. More information on the federal recognition award can be found here. Resources for all schools to move toward the three Pillars can be found here.