The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) announced on August 9, 2019, the finalist for Sustainability Awards. One of the finalists for Associate/2-year Institutions is Arup and San Bernardino Community College District’s Journey to sustainability and achieving Zero Net Energy.
San Bernardino Community College District (SBCC) is the first and only Community College District in Southern California to participate in Proposition 39 Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Schools Pilot Program. The Proposition (Prop) 39 ZNE Schools Pilot (Pilot) will assist schools and community colleges in retrofitting existing facilities to zero net energy (ZNE) by leveraging Prop 39 funding.
SBCCD tasked L.A. Lighting, a U.S. Manufacturer based in El Monte, CA, in providing a new energy efficient lighting system for the college, incorporating wireless controls and daylight harvesting sensors. The system had to significantly improved the lighting quality within the building, which should result in improved working environment for staff. New LED Luminaires were used throughout the building to replace aging existing fluorescent fixtures. New Custom LED Retrofit Solutions were designed for existing suspension pendant fixtures to ensure cost for the upgrade would be at a minimum.
The goal of this activity will be to establish “proof of concept” that ZNE retrofits of schools is feasible across California. Working with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and Southern California Gas Company (SoCal Gas) (together the “Investor-Owned Utilities”, or “IOUs”) they were tasked to administer this ZNE Pilot effort and select potential school districts to participate in the Pilot Program.
Five goals were created in regard to the ZNE: Establish Proof of Concept; Learn best methods to implement ZNE; Monitor performance of the building to make sure proposed measures are effective and the building will achieve ZNE at the end of one (1) year monitoring period; Duplicate the process at other campuses; Determining the cost of higher efficiency.
SBCCD used the LEED implementation process as a driver and implemented a number of innovative sustainable solutions including a 1.3 MW solar tracking system that produces clean renewable energy.
The collaboration team (not all listed) task to accomplished Zero Net Energy at SBCCD included, SoCal Edison, SoCalGas, Cadmus, ARUP, HMC Architects, Titan Electric, LA Air-Conditioning, Sunbelt Controls, Lemay Construction, ACH Mechanical Contractors, Awesome Blinds, Solatube, EnOcean, and LA Lighting.
EnOcean Wireless Controls, as well as Daylight Harvesting sensors were incorporated into the fixtures to reduce both the installation cost of the new lighting system as well as the operating cost of the fixtures during use throughout the day.
These small but measurable steps all revolve around safety, sustainability, and longevity. These are key benefits that SBCCDS Board of Trustees hold close to their hearts when considering how impactful their decisions are as they define their sustainability plan. If they’re able to gain value, both quantitative and qualitatively, then the districts return on investment will be a simple decision: Continue down this successful path district-wide. Future policy decisions will be justified as these efforts will display how impactful they are in helping the district be smart about where to spend so that future tuition costs can remain low. Becoming the neighborhood anchor and community center also demonstrates that these developments all work cohesively by reaching diverse groups within their communities.
For more information, please visit: https://hub.aashe.org/browse/casestudy/21760/San-Bernardino-Community-Colleges-Journey-to-sustainability-and-achieving-Zero-Net-Energy