News Releases

Energy Efficiency Saves Dollars For Lyon County Schools

Dec 6, 2005

Contact: Karl Walquist (775) 834-3891

Gymnasiums at high schools in Yerington and Dayton will soon be brighter and more energy efficient as the result of a new Sierra Pacific Power Company program to encourage energy conservation in schools. Sure Bet for Schools is a grant program to help Nevada schools install energy efficient lights and other equipment to reduce their energy consumption and power bills.

Through the program, the Lyon County School District (LCSD) received more than $16,000 from Sierra Pacific for energy conservation projects in various schools during 2005.

With the Sure Bet grant, school officials are replacing old T12 gym lights in Yerington High School with more energy efficient T5 fluorescent lights that last longer and burn brighter."We aren't even up to date with metal halide lights in that gym. We are still using lights installed in the 1970s,"said Jim Gleason, district electrician for LCSD. In addition, mercury-vapor lights in the Dayton High School gym will be replaced with T5 fluorescents.

Grant dollars will also be used to install timers for the engine block heaters that ensure school buses will start during cold winter mornings. With the timers, engine block heaters that currently operate throughout the night will only be operated a few hours."This process will save an enormous amount of energy each month,"Gleason said."While we probably will only implement this at Fernley this year, we hope that through the Sure Bet program we can do this district-wide next year."

Gleason expects the energy efficiency improvements will cut power costs for lighting the two gyms and operating the engine block heaters nearly in half, from approximately $5,000 to $2,900 per month."This is a great program and we are currently evaluating projects throughout the school district in anticipation of next year's program."

All three projects are expected to be completed by the end of December.

Sierra Pacific has allocated $320,000 to northern Nevada schools in 2005 for energy efficiency upgrades and technical improvements offered through the Sure Bet for Schools Program. Individual school districts work with Sierra Pacific to determine areas where upgrades are needed and then apply to be considered for the grants, which are used to offset project costs. All of the school districts in Sierra Pacific Power's service area are participating in the program. Projects funded by the Sure Bet program this year must be completed by December 31 in order for schools to earn the grant dollars.

"Sure Bet for Schools offers great opportunities for northern Nevada's school districts to save money on their energy bills, and in some cases the energy efficiency projects can be incorporated into the curriculum,"said John Hargrove, program manager for the Sure Bet program."Another advantage of the program is that it will help reduce the total amount of energy Sierra Pacific needs to produce at its power plants or purchase from other energy suppliers."

He added that another goal of the program is to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency so that schools will implement similar improvements on their own in the future.

A third Lyon County School, Silver Springs High School, is benefiting from another Sierra Pacific energy efficiency programâ€" the Sure Bet Building Optimization Assessment program. Through this program the school is receiving technical assistance from Sierra Pacific that will help the school improve the operation of its cooling system.