Skip to main content

Vista USD Heightens Student Engagement with Efficiency Project

Vista Unified School District (VUSD), located in southern California, announces the success of its energy efficiency project with energy and sustainability expert, Schneider Electric.

The culmination of the five phases of projects have provided the school district with upgrades like modernized lighting, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment and thermostat systems. These improvement deliver unparalleled energy savings and efficiency gains for the district. The district has generated more than $500,000 in efficiency savings and is expected to total $785,000 in savings by the end of 2019.

Prior to engaging with Schneider Electric, the school district faced challenges such as limited funding for infrastructure improvements and deferred maintenance. While many upgrades have been made, some school sites were using outdated, inefficient systems that created a discrepancy in the school’s philosophy of promoting energy efficiency.

In 2013, the school district turned to Schneider Electric to develop a comprehensive 5-year plan to address the necessary improvements with grant funding available through the Proposition 39 - California Clean Energy Jobs Act to improve the energy efficiency and reliability of its equipment.

“Schneider Electric has allowed us to take advantage of available opportunities to engage in more sustainable practices,” said Dr. Linda Kimble, VUSD superintendent.

“Our partnership with Schneider Electric created noteworthy programs for our students to learn more about going green and spark interest in STEM.”

The projects were funded with Prop 39 grant dollars, meaning all resulting energy savings goes straight back to the district where it is needed the most. Each of the phases improved a different aspect of the facilities’ infrastructures such as:

  • Replacing antiquated heating and air-conditioning systems

  • Installing new LED lighting in select gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms and parking lots

  • Installing new thermostats

  • Replacing aging building control systems

In addition to infrastructure improvements, Schneider Electric engaged with VUSD students on a personal level to drive interest in STEM education. The school district partnered with Schneider Electric to create a “Read and Ride” bicycle that gave students a visual representation of the energy that could be powered through pedaling a bike connected to a generator. The bicycle was on display at the school’s STEMFest, an annual event that aims to engage students in hands-on learning, and now rotates among the elementary schools.

Additional activities Schneider Electric facilitated included a year-long competition among some of the district’s elementary schools around energy efficiency gains and the Conserve My Planet program that teaches students how to conserve energy through monitoring power use and other hands-on activities.

“VUSD is committed to providing its students with top notch STEM education and have raised the bar on that commitment through its dedication to improving energy efficiency on a fundamental level,” said Tammy Fulop, vice president, Schneider Electric. “Our projects and partnership complement the great work that is taking place in the district.”

In addition to the facilities’ improvements, the project will make a significant environmental impact by saving more than 940 thousand kWh each year, which is equivalent to removing 77 cars from the road or planting 14,292 trees.

Over the past 26 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented more than 730 ESPC projects across the nation, saving its clients over $2 billion. This project delivery method helps publicly funded entities make capital improvements and offers many long-term benefits such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection.

For more information on how Schneider Electric helps K-12 schools tackle energy efficiency, please visit