Houston, Texas – July 29, 2009 – While the end of the school year traditionally signals a period of reduced activity in the classroom, school districts in the CenterPoint Energy service territory are working on a variety of summer projects to improve energy efficiency. CenterPoint Energy offers the Schools Conserving Resources (SCORESM) Program to help schools analyze energy usage, identify opportunities to increase efficiency, and implement facility upgrades.
“Summer is always a busy time for schools in the SCORE Program,” said Cheryl Bowman, CenterPoint Energy SCORE program manager. “Districts are making a number of efficiency upgrades, including lighting and air-conditioning projects in classrooms, gyms, and cafeterias that will result in increased comfort for students and faculty when they return in the fall. The SCORE Program was created to facilitate these projects through no-cost technical assistance and financial incentives.”
Several districts are making lighting improvements throughout their facilities, including Fort Bend ISD. “We’re upgrading lighting systems in a number of our schools, including Austin Parkway Elementary, Elkins High School, and our district administration building,” said Michael Johnson, Fort Bend ISD facilities director. “We can’t wait for our students and teachers to see the improvements in themselves when classes start again.”
Katy ISD completed similar upgrades this spring. “We’re already enjoying significant savings on our energy bills from the projects we completed earlier this year,” said Energy Manager Mike Matej. The district installed efficient lighting in gymnasiums, cafeterias and even exit signs, and expects to save approximately 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually from the projects.
Lamar CISD and Cypress Fairbanks ISD will soon be replacing old heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with higher efficiency equipment. “Summer is the perfect time to upgrade our HVAC systems,” said Cypress Fairbanks ISD energy manager Glen Rhoden. “The units we’re installing will keep our buildings just as comfortable, if not more so, than our old equipment. They’ll just use a lot less energy in the process.”
In addition to lighting and HVAC upgrades, Houston-area schools are increasing energy- efficiency in a number of other ways, such as installing “cool roof” technology. “Cool roofs reflect heat instead of absorbing it into the building, meaning our air conditioners can work less to keep the building comfortable,” said Bob Higginbotham, Tomball ISD Energy Manager. The district has already installed cool roofs at several buildings, including Tomball Junior High, and is planning on using the technology at several others this summer.
The SCORE Program provides incentives for new construction projects as well. The efficient design specifications adopted by several participants have enabled them to apply for state and national recognition. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) are two organizations that provide recognition for buildings that feature exceptional energy performance.
The Monarch School is in the process of applying for the USGBC’s LEED certification for its new special education building, while Humble ISD and Spring ISD are applying for both LEED and CHPS certification for several new facilities. “It’s important that the community fully understands our commitment to energy efficiency,” said Jeff Windsor, Spring ISD director of facilities. “The efficiency standards we set as part of our participation in SCORE helped us meet the requirements of both groups, and will hopefully lead to our district being recognized as a leader in energy efficiency in the area.”
Since it began offering the SCORE Program in 2007, CenterPoint Energy has paid more than $1.6 million in incentives for more than 350 energy efficiency projects in 20 school districts. The program was expanded to include private schools and higher education institutions in 2009. The resulting energy savings of 19,500,000 kilowatt-hours are equivalent to taking 2,500 cars off the road each year. “We’re thrilled with the accomplishments of all the schools in the SCORE Program,” said Bowman. “We look forward to continuing to help our schools become more energy efficient so that they can direct more of their budget dollars into the classroom.”
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. Assets total over $19 billion. With about 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 130 years. For more information, visit the Web site at www.CenterPointEnergy.com.