Better Schools through Better Energy Management in Los Angeles

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jun 14, 2017

How does the second largest school district in the country target energy waste, while improving the learning environment for students? The Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LA Unified) first Better Buildings Showcase Project explores the work underway to upgrade their biggest energy-consumer, Santee Education Complex.

The Santee Education Complex was built in 2005, and was LA Unified’s first new four-year high school in 35 years. Complete with classrooms, offices, gym, library, auditorium, athletic fields, and a competition-size swimming pool, Santee serves over 2,000 students and staff. Through LED lighting upgrades, occupancy sensor installation, optimization of variable speed drive water pumps for the central plant, and upgrades to the energy management system, LA Unified expects a 25 percent reduction at Santee by June 2017.

On top of that impressive drop, LA Unified anticipates reduced maintenance costs (thanks to the more modern systems) and improvements in student productivity. Better thermal comfort, improved lighting conditions, and a more consistent physical environment are expected to reduce absenteeism and make Santee Education Complex a more ideal place for learning.

The district is focused on leveraging these upgrades to educate students and impact behavior. By providing real-time energy and water consumption information, students and teachers will be able to measure usage by school and set goals to improve conservation.

LA Unified is targeting a 20 percent energy and water use reduction portfolio-wide by 2024, and the State of California provides funding to educational agencies for energy efficiency improvements.

For more details on the upgrades and LA Unified’s plans for Santee Education Complex, check out the Better Buildings Solution Center!