Prop 39 Delivers Energy Efficiency Funding to California Schools
School districts across the country continually ask "How do I get money for my energy upgrade projects?" In California the answer increasingly is to apply for "Prop 39" money. The California Clean Energy Jobs Act was created with the approval of Proposition 39 in 2012. Prop 39 legislation may have as much of an impact on schools as AB 1103 benchmarking laws will have on the overall commercial real estate market in California.
How Much Funding for School Energy Efficiency from Prop 39?
- $381 million in awards to local educational agencies (LEAs), which include county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, and state special schools for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
- $47 million in awards to California community college districts for energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
What Is the Process for Prop 39 Energy Program Application?
For school districts and the energy service providers that do the work, there is a clear process to follow summarized in eight steps. The entire document can be found on the Proposition 39: California Clean Energy Jobs Act - 2013 Implementation Guidelines.
- Electric and Gas Usage/Billing Data: 12 months site energy usage before project installation
- Benchmarking of facilities: Benchmarking results must include total energy cost/square footage/year and annual total Kbtus /square footage/year
- Eligible Energy Project Prioritization Considerations: The commission establishes a set of criteria that should be considered for prioritization ranging from age of the building to expected energy savings to potential health benefits.
- Sequencing of Facility Improvements: Its important to prioritize energy efficiency first, then renewable energy, and finally non-renewable projects such as fuel cells or combined heat and power.
- Eligible Energy Measure Identification: Prop 39 allows for three methods to identify eligible energy project: 1) an energy survey 2) an ASHRAE Level 2 energy audit or 3) data analytics
- Cost-Effectiveness Determination: LEAs can put together a bundle of energy upgrades into a larger energy project. An eligible energy project must achieve a minimum savings‐to‐investment ratio (SIR) of 1.05 to be approved for a Proposition 39 award.
- Complete and Submit an Energy Expenditure Plan(s): LEAs must apply to the Energy Commission as specified in the energy expenditure plan form and explained in the Handbook for Energy Expenditure Plans.
- Project Tracking and Reporting: 12 months site energy usage after project installation
There are multiple stages to the application process and different pots of money available. So don't wait--download the application, work with a local energy expert, and get moving. Make sure you use a data analytics partner like WegoWise to help, especially with Steps 1, 2, and 8. Data collection, analysis, tracking and reporting can suck up a lot of time if you are not using the right tools. Use that time to help children keep learning in their upgraded schools!