Public Schools Realize Savings from Energy Efficiency
News Release from Office of Rep Cynthia Thielen
Honolulu, Hawai‘i— On Opening Day of the 2013 Legislative Session, Representative Cynthia Thielen introduced a bill promoting energy efficiency in public schools which allows schools to retain money in their budgets realized from their energy savings.
HB 11 will allow public schools to enter into energy performance contracts for the purpose of undertaking energy conservation or alternative energy projects. One important aspect of this bill, however, is that the schools that enter into these contracts and see their electric bills drop will actually get to keep the savings as a result.
Rep. Thielen said, “Our public school system as a whole uses large amounts of electricity, and we should be promoting efforts to encourage these schools to individually seek savings through energy conservation and alternative energy projects.”
“The best way to encourage schools to undertake these important projects would be to let the schools keep the money they save on energy costs and use it for their own purposes. It’s no secret that a lack of funds in our public school system has always been a problem. By incentivizing public schools to save energy, we can kill two birds with one stone: reduce Hawaii’s energy usage while providing much needed money to our state school system,” Rep. Thielen added.
Performance contracting is a way to bring down energy consumption immediately without having to pay front-end capital costs. This is accomplished by using energy service companies to provide assurance of system performance. The energy service company then audits the potential school’s facilities, recommends certain energy-savings measures, initiates those measures at no front-end capital expense to the school, and guarantees that the energy savings will cover the project costs.
Once again, a large component of HB11 is to make sure that the overall proportion of appropriations for energy costs does not decline as savings are realized. This bill would allow the schools to keep their energy savings and use them for the benefit of the school itself and Hawaii’s schoolchildren.