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$400,000 Rebate For Light Swap At 9 Sacramento-Area Schools

Keith Reid / San Juan Unified School District

A worker installs bright new LED lights (on right) at Casa Roble High School as part of a project to replace fluorescents lights, which use more energy.

Keith Reid / San Juan Unified School District

A major lighting change at schools in the San Juan Unified School District will save energy and money. It also brings the district a huge rebate from SMUD.

The district is replacing 39,000 fluorescent lamps with LED lighting at nine high schools.

"To date, this is the largest LED retrofit that has taken place on the west coast," says Steve DiPierro, president of Folsom-based Efficient Lighting Designs, the contractor for the project.

And the large retrofit also brings one of the largest one-time SMUD rebates -- $400,000 -- for the San Juan Unified School District.

"The total cost of the project was about $1.8 million with the $400,000 rebate, which brought our contribution down to about $1.4 million," says Frank Camarda, senior director of facilities, maintenance and transportation with the district. "I think that represents, with all expenses, about a six-year payback."

He says the LED lighting will save the district about $215,000 a year in energy costs.

Camarda says the new lighting will also save more than 1.6 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

"By SMUD's comparison that equates to about 200 homes per year," says Camarda. "So we're basically reducing enough energy to power 200 homes. We could also draw a comparison of removing about 3,000 barrels of crude oil per year with this project itself."

The work is underway and expected to be completed by the end of November.