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Christensen Middle School Awarded $10,000 Grant from PG&E

The energy and cost savings to the school and district were immediate.

LIVERMORE, CA: Christensen Middle School Awarded $10,000 Grant from PG&E. Photo provided by LVJUSD
LIVERMORE, CA: Christensen Middle School Awarded $10,000 Grant from PG&E. Photo provided by LVJUSD
Information from Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District—

The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD), in its continuing quest to reduce energy consumption and eliminate waste, recently replaced old 250 watt high pressure sodium (HPS) parking lot light fixtures with 54 watt light emitting diode (LED) light fixtures at Christensen Middle School.  

Regina Brinker, award winning science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) teacher at Christensen Middle School (CMS) applied for and was awarded a $10,000 Bright Ideas grant from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). 

The grant was for two purposes. The first was to help LVJUSD and CMS reduce energy consumption by installing LED lights in the parking lot to save energy costs and increase safety by having more efficient lighting.

The second part of the grant was used to purchase science equipment for use in Mrs. Brinker’s STEM class.  Nine new LED parking lights were retro-fitted at Christensen Middle School with new LED technology. In-house maintenance staff completed the project in April. The difference in the quality of the light was immediately noticed. 

The new fixtures incorporate BridgeLux LED array technology. This is the same technology used in the Livermore City street lights. The new lighting uses 50-90 percent less energy, lasts much longer than traditional light sources, and contains no mercury or chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). The light provides a well-lit, safe and secure parking lot while reducing energy costs.

Since the cost of the entire project was funded through the grant and the labor was paid for through an incentive rebate from PG&E, the savings in energy to LVJUSD and CMS was immediate.

As a result of the new LED lighting, energy consumption is being reduced by 78.4 percent with an annual cost benefit of $1,331. The project included replacing seven older fluorescent style wall-pack exterior light fixture units located in the front of the school with the energy efficient LED units.

These fixtures will reduce electrical consumption by 28.0 percent. The LED parking lot project is also beneficial from a maintenance standpoint. “There are a lot of maintenance benefits”, says Mike Nagel, Executive Director of Maintenance and Operations for the Livermore School District, “in addition to saving energy and lowering our electric costs we also enjoy the benefit of a much greater life-cycle. LED lighting technology will last on average about 5 times longer than conventional parking lot lighting. This means less service calls and time needed to replace light fixtures.” 

The second part of the grant was used to purchase Vernier digital probes to be used by both science and STEM students in grades 6-8. Probes include thermometers, motion sensors, light sensors, and force plates and will allow students to quantify science and engineering experiments. This work aligns both with Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. These are the same probes used at the high school level in the Green Engineering Academy where students are actively involved in energy efficiency and conservation efforts.  

This grant is one of many the LVJUSD has been awarded for a wide variety of conservation projects that save resources and operational expenses. Some projects include high speed efficient hand driers, hydration stations that provide clean, great tasting and healthy water, collection of organics and used batteries, and increased diversion of recyclable materials.  

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held during the CMS Open House on May 28. The ceremony included staff, students, parents and representatives from PG&E and the Livermore School District.

Plans are underway to retro-fit all Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District parking lots under the Prop 39 program. LVJUSD is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and reducing costs while providing a world class and safe learning environment. 

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