Tucson Electric Power has partnered with Arizona-based businesses to install more than 20,000 LED bulbs to local schools this school year.
For the Schools Energy Efficiency Pilot Program, TEP selected 14 public schools to receive the complimentary LEDs and hired Arizona-based businesses to install them. As a result, the schools are expected to save more than 1 million kilowatt hours.
“Not only can the schools save money on energy, but they also can use that money to reinvest in the students’ education,” said Jessica Vega, Senior Program Manager of Commercial Energy Efficiency Programs and Services for TEP.
LED bulbs were installed in classrooms, hallways, common areas and outdoor spaces. LEDs are more efficient and last longer than other bulbs, and they provide more consistent light – a benefit for students in large classrooms. They’ve also been a popular upgrade for businesses that take advantage of TEP’s Commercial Energy Solutions program.
School districts and charter schools were evaluated for the program and selected for the new lighting if they met TEP’s criteria.
Jerry Wood, Vail Director of Facilities and Transportation, said classrooms in three of his district’s elementary schools now have better quality and brighter light with the new bulbs.
“We absolutely appreciate what TEP did,” Wood said. “Being able to upgrade the light systems in the schools, which translates to lower utility bills, is hugely beneficial. It’s an indirect way of getting money back into the classrooms so teachers can help kids.”
One charter school that benefitted was Southside Community School near South Campbell Ave. and E. 36th Street. Nearly 1,200 light bulbs were installed before classes started in the fall.
“The lights are going to save us a lot of money and be better for the environment,” said Melissa Costa, the school’s Grants Assistant. “It frees up money for teachers and more resources.”
In addition to helping schools, TEP supported Arizona-based businesses that bid on the installation jobs. The two selected companies were Inline Electrical Resources for the charter schools and US Energy Services Inc. for the public district schools.
“It definitely helps our business to get these projects from TEP,” said Art Ledner, Vice President of Sales for Inline Electrical Resources. “Some of these schools probably wouldn’t have funding to install new lighting without the TEP schools program.”
Ten traditional public schools in four districts and four charter school campuses received the lights. The schools and the number of light bulbs are:
Vail School District
- Cottonwood Elementary, 2,281
- Senita Valley Elementary, 1,603
- Ocotillo Ridge Elementary, 2,132
Sahuarita Unified School District
- Sopori Elementary, 1,121
Catalina Foothills Unified School District
- Esperero Canyon Middle, 3,610
- Canyon View Elementary, 2,453
- Manzanita Elementary, 1,866
Tucson Unified School District
- Hollinger K-8, 2,297
- Santa Rita High, 482
- Davis Bilingual Magnet Elementary, 1,134
- Tucson International Academy – Midvale campus, 283
- Tucson International Academy – West campus, 347
- Southside Community School, 1,196
- Air & Space Academy in Green Valley, 87
In 2016, TEP provided LEDs to more than two dozen schools.