Tuesday, January 7, 2014

College district to receive clean energy funds

The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District has received more than $600,000 in state funding that will be used to add more energy-efficient lighting at its two East County campuses.

Last month, the district was one of 14 school districts in the state of California to receive funding from Proposition 39, the state measure passed in November 2012 that raised taxes on out-of-state corporations to pay for clean energy projects at schools and campuses in California. The initiative also helps to create jobs.

Of the more than $8 million that was handed out in the state’s third round of appropriations, the college district received $614,585.  The district is also receiving a $84,799 rebate from San Diego Gas & Electric Co. for the lighting improvements.

While several San Diego County schools have received energy funding from Proposition 39, Grossmont-Cuyamaca is the only community college district in San Diego County to have received funding.  The state is expecting to allocate an estimated $2.5 billion over five years to eligible projects that will increase energy efficiency and broaden clean energy. 

The district will be using the money to partially fund a $2.1 million project that will provide for the replacement of existing lights to LED (light-emitting diode) fixtures for pedestrian walks, parking lot lighting and some street lighting. More than 8,000 fluorescent lamps in classrooms at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges will also be replaced with the more energy-efficient lighting.

LED lighting is more energy-efficient, durable, versatile and longer-lasting than traditional incandescent and compact fluorescent lighting. Some research has shown that LED lights use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.  The project will also allow for upgrades to some of the mechanical controls for Grossmont College to tie into the existing system. 

The project will also be supported with funds from the district’s Proposition V construction bond program, for which sustainability and energy efficiency is a priority. The $398 million bond measure was approved by East County voters in November 2012.

“We’re very pleased to receive these funds that will allow us to provide more energy-efficient lighting at Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. “Our goal with our Prop. V projects is to make our campuses as sustainable as possible so we can save money and protect the environment.”

By supplementing the lighting upgrade with Proposition 39 funds, Proposition V funds that would have been applied to the project can be earmarked for other needs approved by the voters.  The project is currently being advertised for bid by contractors, and will be awarded in February 2014. 

The district held an outreach event on December 13 to promote the participation of small and historically underutilized businesses in the lighting project. The district is also making efforts to encourage East County and local businesses to bid on construction projects funding by Prop. V.

The Propositions R and V construction program is providing for new instructional and career training facilities, Veterans Support Centers, major renovations, technology and infrastructure upgrades, sustainability initiatives, and enhanced campus accessibility throughout Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.