The US Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Arizona’s Dysart Unified School District for increasing the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at 25 schools. Through DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge, Dysart USD has committed to 20 percent energy savings over 10 years, spanning more than three million square feet of building space. The district is well on its way toward meeting an ambitious goal of implementing solar energy at each school.
Dysart USD has already achieved 10 percent energy savings since 2011, and its Better Buildings Challenge showcase project, Kingswood Elementary School, has achieved 16 percent energy savings. Kingswood is now equipped with rooftop solar panels and advanced chillers to cool the building. The panels also provide shade for playgrounds and parking. In addition, Kingswood installed new lighting controls and fixtures and solar water heaters. The solar water heaters take advantage of onsite solar resource capacity, and further reduce the school’s annual energy costs.
The solar projects feature an electronic kiosk to help students monitor how much energy is produced by the solar photovoltaic panels, based on the position of the sun and local weather conditions.