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august 17, 2016
aps pilot program saves more than half a million dollars for schools
sixty-six participating schools benefit from updated lighting, HVAC, refrigeration
PHOENIX – Today, when parents walk into a classroom at Desert Heights Charter School in Glendale they enjoy the happy sights and sounds of students learning. According to Desert Heights School President Mark Jiles, before the school updated its lights and HVAC system as part of the APS School Pilot Program, inefficient air conditioning and the loud hum of overhead florescent lighting could be heard in every classroom. A better classroom environment was needed – one more conducive to learning.
Enter the APS School Pilot Program, which is helping alleviate the noise and is also saving schools money.  Through this one-time program aimed at helping schools become more energy efficient, schools applied to receive new and updated lighting and HVAC and refrigeration maintenance.  APS paid for 100 percent of the project costs, and schools receive a substantial financial benefit in energy savings over time, while eliminating the immediate cost of needed improvements and maintenance. The pilot, which was sponsored by Commissioner Forese, was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission in November of last year.
“With this Pilot Program, we wanted to engage schools that did not have the funding to undertake energy efficiency projects on their own – and that would receive a great return with these upgrades,” said Jim Wontor, APS Manager of Demand Side Management. “Every dollar not being spent on energy costs by schools can be redirected to the classroom.”
Participating schools are projected to save more than $600,000 cumulatively in annual energy costs. Keeping classrooms cool in the summer and warm in the winter can be a big expense. This program, however, creates energy savings that schools can now reinvest in students. For Desert Heights, which is projected to save $23,000 annually, the savings mean “additional paraprofessionals in classrooms to support general education teachers, additional resources and advanced technology for students,” according to Jiles.
The Pilot Program was aimed at forging greater ties with schools that had not yet participated in APS’s Solutions for Business Program, which helps schools to partially fund energy efficiency projects. Solutions for Business  has invested more than $23 million since 2006 to help Arizona schools gain more than $15 million in annual savings, which has gone back to Arizona students.
Schools participating in the Pilot Program represent a diverse cross section of Arizona – from 100-year-old Globe High School to 17 separate schools in the Yuma area. Regardless of a school’s geography, each participating campus will see savings for years to come.  
“Energy efficiency means more to our state’s educators than a number on a balance sheet; it can mean additional teachers, new supplies and updated technology,” Wontor said. “Our hope is that it ultimately will result in a better learning environment for students.”
To see interviews with School Pilot Program participants please go to: https://youtu.be/vpdtW9tzPYs.
APS serves about 2.7 million people in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties, and is the Southwest’s foremost producer of clean safe and reliable electricity. Using a balanced energy mix that is nearly 50 percent carbon-free, APS has one of the country’s most substantial renewable energy portfolios, and owns and operates the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s top power producer and largest producer of carbon-free energy.  The company is also a proven leader in introducing technology and services that offer customers choice and control over their energy consumption.  With headquarters in Phoenix, APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (NYSE: PNW).
With this Pilot Program, we wanted to engage schools that did not have the funding to undertake energy efficiency projects on their own – and that would receive a great return with these upgrades. Every dollar not being spent on energy costs by schools can be redirected to the classroom.

- Jim Wontor, APS Manager of Demand Side Management