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CSBA partnerships maximize members’ energy savings  

Fall 2013

What’s old is new again—and improved, and not to be confused with what used to be. Take Proposition 39, for example.

An item with that number on the November 2000 ballot made it easier for local educational agencies to pass facilities bonds (by a 55 percent majority instead of the two-thirds requirement that still exists for parcel taxes). Problem was, the regulations implementing that Proposition 39 included—and still include—onerous requirements obligating districts to provide “surplus” facilities to charter schools.

The new Proposition 39, the California Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2012, has nothing to do with that.

“We’re talking about a brand new Prop 39,” stresses Nancy Rorabaugh, who knows what she’s talking about. She’s been advising clients about energy efficiency for more than two decades, and for much of that time she’s partnered with CSBA to extend her company’s services especially to school districts and county offices of education.

Smart Assessment Energy Program

“Electricity costs are going up. For example, school districts in the San Diego area just experienced a 13 percent increase on average Sept. 1,” Rorabaugh points out. One way to mitigate these rising costs is to implement energy-saving strategies—precisely the approach funded by the new Prop 39.

“We will provide a step-by-step implementation plan that will help [clients] maximize their Prop 39 funds,” Rorabaugh says of the Smart Assessment Energy Program, offered through a partnership between CSBA and Ameresco Inc., the international consulting firm that Rorabaugh works for as a business services development manager in San Diego.

“The fastest way to go green is, one: conservation—turning things off, getting rid of unoccupied run time,” the term of art for things like leaving lights, air conditioning, computers and other energy sappers running when they’re not needed, Rorabaugh says. “Upgrading systems—lighting, HVACs,” is the next step, one that the comprehensive Smart Assessment Energy Program can help with. An Ameresco website,, documents savings at a dozen California school districts; just click on the References tab for details. Ameresco's home page is

SunPower Corp.

Another CSBA partner, SunPower Corp., takes a more focused approach—focused on solar power. The company’s innovations and services have inspired school districts and county offices of education to act, delivering dramatic savings with investments that more than pay for themselves.

“SunPower has combined the most experienced team of solar installation experts with record-breaking solar panel technology. The result? Turnkey solar solutions for school districts and COEs, which are designed with one goal in mind: to deliver the most solar energy possible,” according to Bill Kelly, SunPower’s managing director.

Headquartered in San Jose, SunPower advertises “the planet’s most powerful solar,” based on decades of innovations led by its founder, Richard Swanson, who got his start as an engineering professor at Stanford University. The San Jose-based global company also offers the SunPower Solar Science Academy. Last summer, More than 250 students (and teachers) from 10 California school districts participated in weeklong educational projects, learning from industry professionals and visiting solar power installations.
Learn more about CSBA’s partners in these pursuits at

—Brian Taylor