CONTACT: Valerie Martinez or Laura Flores, (562) 789-4047 or (562) 668-7833

WUHSD to Increase Energy Savings with Prop 39 Funds

WHITTIER – The Whittier Union High School District currently is working in conjunction with the California Conservation Corps (CCC) to expand its energy saving efforts through the effective use of approximately $640,000 in Proposition 39 funds.

Currently, energy audits of all Whittier Union campuses are being conducted by the CCC’s Energy Corps Crew that will make recommendations on how the District can build upon its ongoing efforts to conserve energy usage.

Funds from Prop 39 will allow the District to look at upgrading to more efficient equipment that will provide the same level of comfort and effective use, but at a lower cost, said Whittier Union High School District Associate Superintendent Paul Muschetto.

“We have achieved substantial energy savings through changing the way we use electricity, gas and water,” Muschetto said. “Last year alone we saved $867,000, and we have saved $4 million since our energy conservation program began in 2008. The money we receive through Proposition 39 will help us augment our efforts with new energy saving equipment.”

Whittier Union has been working hard to conserve electricity, gas and water for six years. Whittier Union hired Cenergistic, formerly Energy Education Inc., as a consultant in September 2008. Work on the program began in November 2008 when the District promoted David Pasillas to the position of Energy Education Manager. Energy Education Inc. provided training for Pasillas and worked at each school to find ways to conserve electricity, water and gas.

In 2012, Whittier Union received two prestigious awards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its District-wide energy conservation program to conserve electricity, natural gas and water.

The first award from the EPA named the District as an Energy Star Leader for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The award commends the District for its buildings scoring in the top 13 percent among similar buildings across the nation for efficient energy use.

The second EPA award honors Whittier Union for reducing energy use by more than 20 percent from the time the District began its energy conservation program.

Pasillas continues to work with teachers, staff and administrators at the high schools and District offices to encourage them to conserve by shutting down and unplugging equipment such as computers, lights and other electric appliances when not in use.

While the cost of water has increased over the years, the District has actually been able to save on its water bill by doing things such as reducing sprinkler run times and repairing broken sprinklers.

A lot of savings are realized during the summer months, Pasillas said. For example, teachers go through a check list of equipment to turn off and submit the list when they check out for the summer. The Food Services Department consolidates food supplies and turns off unused refrigerators; unused boilers are turned off as well.

In addition, the District participates in Southern California Edison’s Summer Discount Program. Through this program, Whittier Union’s air conditioning systems can be automatically cycled off for 15 minutes throughout a six-hour period, when Edison’s power reserves are low. The District receives approximately $55,000 a year in rebates for participating in the program.

“This effort is having a very positive impact on our bottom line and we expect it will continue to do so as we move forward with plans to save more on electricity, gas and water,” Muschetto said.