Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District

 

The Background: 

The Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District (COJUSD) is a school district in California that comprises 10 K-12 schools within one of the largest unincorporated towns in the state, Cutler and Orosi within Tulare County. In 2014, Cutler-Orosi JUSD partnered with the SitelogIQ (SIQ) West team to carry out energy conservation-related projects covered under California’s Prop 39 Incentive. After conducting a full audit of the District, our energy assessment team found that eight sites were eligible for a comprehensive interior and exterior lighting retrofit, and one site was found eligible for an HVAC retrofit consisting of seven ground-mount gas-electric units and four heat pump units, resulting in a total project cost of $692,377. 

The Solution: Building a Strong Foundation for a Long-Term Partnership

In 2016, Cutler-Orosi JUSD’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology (AEGT) program and SIQ teamed up to establish the Energy Savers Internship Program as a means of providing a professional, work-based environment to High School students. The mission of this program is focused on building student skills and understanding of current energy systems in place to generate and deliver energy, as well as the importance of energy management, efficiency, new technology, and careers in the field.

The Internship Program was completed for four consecutive years, with plans to continue indefinitely. A continued partnership between our team and the District’s Academy of Engineering and Green Technology program, several additional project-based programs have since been created. In 2018, SIQ and Cutler JUSD began constructing lesson plans and curriculum to create project-based learning programs for each High School grade level (9th-12th). All project-based learning programs are centered around solar PV and energy management, providing High School students with exposure to advanced science topics, advancements in technology, and a high volume of industry career opportunities.

  • Provided Energy Services to the Customer through multiple avenues:
    • Evaluated the Customer’s energy use and helped implement energy-saving policies, strategies, and programs while making adjustments in coordination with the Customer
    • Perform regular on-site energy inspections to determine potential opportunities for energy savings
    • Regularly monitor energy trends to report and discuss these with the customer and state certification entities
    • Providing staff training and student lessons to bring more of the behavioral aspect of Energy Management to our customers
    • Supported in the management of newly installed HVAC equipment, including thermostat programming and scheduling
    • Developed and headed an Energy Internship Program in coordination with the Customer
  • Planning, construction, and monitoring of 2032 kW solar arrays at multiple sites.

“COJUSD is thrilled to partner with SitelogIQ, as the opportunity to reinforce concepts being taught in our Academy of Engineering and Green Technology courses, aligned with our Linked Learning Approach is a transforming shift in education for Orosi High School students. We have been able to integrate rigorous academics and interdisciplinary units of study with career-based learning and real-world workplace experiences that make learning relevant and prepare students for post-secondary college and career plans!”

Lisa Castillo
Director of College & Career Readiness
Cutler Orosi Unified School District

The Outcome: 

The strong foundation we created with the customer over several years and multiple projects led to an ambitious $7 million solar PV project in April of 2018. West was hired as the general contractor. To best facilitate this new project, West in turn engaged our Commercial & Industrial (C&I) business unit for added strength and expertise with the energy management project delivery solutions throughout the entire District.

Our C&I team members played an integral role in the design and major equipment procurement support. In addition, they played a critical role in the overall development of the project and installation at all sites located throughout the entire District.

Through the synergy of both SIQ business units, all solar PV projects reached completion by early 2019. Our project financing team provided funding resources to help offset a portion of the system cost by applying for remaining Prop 39 funds on behalf of the District, earning them $356,000 in funding.

The Results: Big Utility Savings & Strengthened Facility Performance

Producing a combined total of 1.9 MW of electric energy, Cutler-Orosi JUSD is now able to locally generate over 75% of the District’s total electric usage by utilizing solar energy produced by the 5 solar PV systems. SitelogIQ continued assisting the District with monitoring and maintaining their various solar PV systems to ensure they continue to operate at maximum potential. In addition, this project also offers further learning opportunities for the District’s students to relate their teachings in the solar PV and energy project-based learning programs to real-life systems that they can tour with a professional from SitelogIQ.