School district earns $36,795 power rebate

Energy-saving improvements earned $36,795 in rebates for Douglas County schools from Sierra Pacific Power Co. Representatives from the utility company presented a check to the school district at the Jan. 10 school board meeting.

The grant funds were available through the Sure Bet for Schools program set up by Sierra Pacific to provide funding and resources to implement technologies that result in the reduction of energy costs. The utility created a separate fund for conservation.

"This money was for approved projects," said school district director of business services Rick Kester. "We received half of the money when the projects started a couple of months ago and the rest of the check was reimbursement for the projects."

A rebate of $7,087 resulted from the installation of a variable frequency motor drive that powers Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School's cooling fan and air conditioning system.

The lighting, heating and air conditioning systems were upgraded at Pau-Wa-Lu and Jacks Valley Elementary. These improvements resulted in a $11,708 rebate.

Improvements were made by changing the metal halide lights in the gym at Carson Valley Middle School to T-5 fluorescent lights that are brighter and 30 percent more energy efficient. The rebate for this upgrade was $18,000.

The projects have to be approved by Sierra Pacific Power and are eligible for rebates only if they're going to save energy.

Charlene Booth, major account executive at Sierra Pacific Power Co. handles the Douglas County School District account.

Booth said that schools do different things - like solar and retrofitting energy systems - to improve efficiency.

"It's an educational opportunity," she said. "When children are raised in an educational environment and learn about conservation, they tend to do conserving later in their own lives.

"Rebates are the kicker to get people to do something about energy," Booth said. "Overall, it helps everyone."

The power company's technical experts work with participants to show them how to retrofit their facilities with energy-efficient lights. The experts help determine the cost-effectiveness of the improvements.

"If you didn't have people conserving, we'd have to build bigger and bigger facilities to produce power," said Booth. "Right now, we have to purchase power from other sources. If more people conserve, we can purchase less power."

For information about Sierra Pacific Power's Sure Bet program, call (800) 342-6335 or on the Web at

For information about energy conservation programs for residential customers,


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