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TUHSD explores partnership to become more energy efficient

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Posted: Friday, August 19, 2011 11:00 am

An overarching and comprehensive sustainability plan that involves the Tempe Union High School District and Chevron is one step closer to coming to fruition after it was discussed at Wednesday's governing board meeting.

Chevron, the company chosen to take on the project in January, has spent the last few months analyzing all seven schools in the TUHSD district and made its presentation on Wednesday as to what changes could be made to save money and become more environmentally friendly. Daniel Musgrove, business development manager for Chevron, talked about key factors and projections to help the governing board decide which route to take next year when it could decide to put a capital bond on the 2012 ballot.

At the next meeting, board members plan to vote on the two options. The first is a fully-comprehensive and up-front plan they called the "Cadillac plan" because it incorporates all the recommendations of Chevron after its audit, which falls in the neighborhood of $130 million.

This includes changes to water, lighting, mechanical systems and more at TUHSD schools to make them more energy efficient.

The second option is to ask for a $10 million to $20 million capital bond that would help the project get a significant boost in some areas. While the initial impact will be smaller, the TUHSD board and Superintendent Kenneth Baca agreed that it made more sense to go with that option.

"We felt that there was something we could do to demonstrate to our community what this concept was all about and how this concept is going to work (with smaller projects first)," Dr. Greg Wyman, associate superintendent, told the governing board. "(The goal is to be able to say) let's go over to school A or school B and let's show you what it looks like. Let's show you how we believe it is saving us money, here are the numbers, and what we are proposing on a larger scale is how we are going to scale that up to all of our sites."

A key aspect of the sustainability project is to develop a telemetry system that creates accessible and interactive data that can be taken into the classroom. This was important to all TUHSD administration and the board members.

"I want to feel like we're not teaching them to save electric dollars and how to save kilowatts, but we're teaching them how to save the planet," board member DeeAnne Clowes said.

The next governing board meeting will take place on Sept. 15 at the TUHSD district office, 500 W. Guadalupe Road in Tempe.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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