• Improving OUSD's Energy Efficiency
    At the Facilities and Management Department, we are always looking to invest in our energy efficiency by adding new systems and programs that save money in the long run, improve the District's sustainability, teach our students how our daily lives impact the world around us, and create the best possible learning environment for our students.

    We achieve this goal through innovative inter-department coordination and the leveraging of state and federal dollars.

    In 2012, California voters approved Prop 39, the Green Energy Jobs Act. OUSD has worked extensively to secure funding from Prop 39 to fund energy efficiency projects in our district. Prop 39 projects are reviewed and approved by the California Energy Commission.

    In the first two years of Prop 39 allocations (2013-2014), projects at 11 schools were funded at $2,684,495, including seven HVAC projects (including installation of controls and in some cases whole boiler replacements) and 9 lighting projects (including some controls as well as LED lighting retrofits). All but one of these projects is already completed, saving OUSD money through energy savings and creating a more comfortable learning environment more conducive to success.

    During the next three years of Prop 39 allocations (2015-2017), projects at 14 schools were funded at $5,803,276, including 14 lighting projects and 1 HVAC project (a whole system boiler replacement at a large high school). We expect to complete all these projects in 2018 and 2019.

    OUSD used a rigorous energy analysis and needs assessment to determine project prioritization, with a special emphasis on efficiency, efficacy, and equity.

    Keep reading to learn about some of the energy efficiency projects we’re most proud of here at OUSD’s Facilities and Management Department.
    La Escuelita
    La Escuelita PV Rendering


    “It’s tremendously encouraging to see Oakland take a leadership role on one of the most important issues of our time—responsible management of the environment. Sustainable development is not a luxury or a frill, but rather a practical response to needs of this and future generations. La Escuelita Education Center is a wonderful illustration of that principle.” – Former State Senator Loni Hancock when La Escuelita was awarded for meeting the highest CHPS sustainability standard in California


    La Escuelita Education Center is OUSD’s first “Grid Neutral” zero net energy (ZNE) campus. Utilizing solar photovoltaic panels on all four of its buildings, bioswales, rain harvesting systems, and cooling towers that mist cool air into common areas with minimal use of energy, it is self-sustaining, generating approximately 600 kilowatts of power. It represents OUSD’s commitment to high quality sustainable facilities for students and the community.

    When we designed La Escuelita Education Center, we strived to create an integrated campus with an enhanced teaching and learning environment for students. It demonstrates the District’s Full Service Community School Model focused on high academic achievement while serving the whole child, eliminating inequality, and providing each child with excellent teachers and facilities, every day.

    La Escuelita’s four buildings, at 126,000 square feet, house La Escuelita Elementary School (360 students), MetWest High School (180 students), and the Yuk Yau and Centro Infantil Child Development Centers (168 students). It includes the district data center, a media arts lab and KDOL TV studio, community health clinic, a central dining complex with full kitchen, offices, and multipurpose spaces, including a town hall space.

    We use the center itself as a tool to educate our students about green construction, sustainability, and clean energy. It even includes an interactive touch-screen dashboard to help students monitor energy use on the campus throughout the day. In doing so, we hope to prepare and inspire OUSD students who are interested in America’s growing green jobs services and industries.




    • Highest Scoring "CHPS" Verified Project in th State of California, Recognized by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
    • Award of Excellence, New Built category, from the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH)
    • Honorable Mention, Category II - Educational Facilities - New, in recognition of its outstanding heating and ventilation (HVAC) performance engineering, from the 2014 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Technology Awards
    • In 2016, OUSD was awarded the Visionary District Exemplary Leadership by a District in Zero Net Energy by the investor-owned utilities.
    • PG&E Savings-By-Design incentives and High Performance Schools Initiative incentives based on energy performance


    McClymonds High School

    Boiler to be replaced


    Old Boiler to be Replaced


    New McClymonds Lighting


    Newest Ligthing in the Gym

    Many of our schools are old and their systems are outdated. McClymonds High School is a great example of a mondernization project on one our older facilities. Below are a few of these important upgrades:
    • Retrofit the light fixture in the gymnasium to more efficient T8 interior fixtures.
    • Provide new occupancy sensors to meet new energy efficient standards and new dual level motion sensors which increase lighting levels when pedestrians approach.
    • Replace 3 steam boilers and 6 furnaces with new high efficiency units and replace the steam coils for the auditorium.
    • Install cooling fans throughout the classrooms to help create more comfortable learning environments. 
    Student Energy Competition

    Signs from Competition   


    Energy Competition Dashboard



    Hillcrest Monitors

    In fall 2016, five Oakland Unified School District schools (Skyline High, Oakland Technical High, Oakland High, Kaiser Elementary, and Hillcrest) competed with schools throughout the Bay Area to reduce their energy use. Participating schools prepared energy conservation action plans with the help of Energize Schools, a program of Strategic Energy Innovations funded by PG&E. Student groups employed a range of conservation strategies to raise energy awareness, including an energy carnival and classroom presentations. A total of 44 schools engaged in the competition throughout the region and collectively saved over $3,800 and 20,920 kWh, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of burning about 1,710 gallons of gasoline. Hillcrest School was recognized for Best Overall Campaign, and subsequently installed a custom energy dashboard in their entryway to continue monitoring their use schoolwide.