The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has rolled out its Utility Savings Sharing Program (USSP) with the start of the 2009-10 school year. The program is a joint effort between the LAUSD Facilities Services Division’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives and Department of Maintenance and Operations, and will allow the school sites to receive a portion of the savings in electric and water bills generated by their conservation efforts, freeing up general fund money for other expenditures in the district.
LAUSD spends nearly $90 million dollars per year on water and electrical utility bills. These bills are paid directly from the general fund (which also pays for core expenditures, including teachers’ salaries and books). By conserving water and energy, LAUSD will use fewer general fund dollars for utilities, and these savings, in turn, can be used elsewhere in the District.
The more water and power that the district conserves, the more schools can save. If a school reduces its usage by a minimum of one percent compared to last year’s usage data, the school will earn a portion of the savings. The baseline data will be adjusted each year to reflect the prior year’s usage so that schools can continue to earn savings if they continue to cut their utility usage.
“The Utility Savings Sharing Program is a great tool that rewards schools for conserving and provides an opportunity for teaching students about responsibility for our environment. At the same time, we can support education with these cost savings,” says Ramon C. Cortines, superintendent at LAUSD. “I am confident this program will be a success.”
Program savings are determined at two tiers and will be tallied on a yearly basis. The first is the savings directly related to the amount saved at each site. For example, if a school reduces utility costs by three to five percent they will earn 30 percent of the savings.
The second tier involves tallying savings at the local district level. If a particular local district is able to conserve a minimum requirement as a whole, the amount going to the schools in that local district to reward their individual savings is doubled. The remainder of the savings will be split evenly between the general fund and new utility conservation projects.
Schools will be issued their savings in May of each year, and the top performers will be recognized by the Office of the Superintendent and the Board of Education.