The check represented a combined $377,177.80 in energy efficiency rebates and demand response incentives that Austin ISD earned in fiscal year 2021. The check also represents an energy savings of 1,605,166 kWh, equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 245 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.
"Austin Energy is proud to recognize and commend Austin ISD for its steadfast commitment to fiscal and environmental stewardship," said the utility. "Austin ISD has long participated in the utility’s energy efficiency programs, supporting upgrades that improve student and teacher comfort while also lowering utility costs."
Austin Energy says its demand response program calls on participating customers to reduce their energy usage during periods of high energy use on the electrical grid, which helps Austin ISD control costs when energy prices are at their highest and helps reduce strain on the grid. The demand response incentive portion amounted to $166,246.55, the largest payment in the program's history.
As part of the program, Austin ISD has reduced its electricity usage for two hours on specific days and times, generally the hottest days during the summer months. At the end of the summer, they receive a payment from Austin Energy based on their energy reduction during these demand response events. Since Austin ISD joined the program in 2016, its performance has increased five-fold, says the utility, and nearly 100 schools participate in the program now.
In addition to the demand response program, Austin ISD also partnered with ACR Engineering last year on energy efficiency improvements across 10 campuses, including the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, the Bowie High School Athletics and Fine Arts buildings and Sunset Valley Elementary. These improvements qualified the school district for rebates totaling $260,871.25.