San Diego USD is one of the largest school districts in the nation with well over 12 million square feet of space. With aging buildings, a huge water and energy budget, they needed to stay on top and proactively reduce utility costs.

3FFICIENT senior associate, Verle Williams analyzed energy use and provided an investment grade engineering study and design services that were used as a basis for comprehensive building and grounds retrofits. Design, bidding support, project management, financing assistance and new district-wide design and efficiency standards were also provided during this multi-year program.


This was a 5-year, $43 Million renovation bond project paid through a certificate of participation. It encompassed modernizing over 1,200 buildings including design and project management. Approximately 170,000 light fixtures and exit signs were retrofitted. Computerized Energy Management was added to 70 sites, 4 central plants were upgraded, 6 sites had boiler replacements, 13 sites had multi-zone HVAC replacements, 37 sites had VAV conversions, 7 sites had package unit replacements. In addition to the extensive retrofits, 85% of the lighting spares inventory was reduced through standardization. The teaching and learning environment was dramatically improved. A digital maintenance management system was implemented with bar-coded equipment for fast and constant tracking. Thousands of flush valves, toilet tanks, aerators, shower heads, and waterless urinals were installed. A total irrigation management program was also implemented resulting in more than 210 million gallons of water are saved annually. Without including the maintenance and procurement savings, the project resulted in well over a 14% ROI.

Environmental Benefits:

  • Annual Energy Savings: 10,000,000 kWh; 210,000,000 gallons water
  • Annual Emissions Savings: 8,691,115 lbs CO2 (GHG); 16,623 lbs NOx (smog); 18,803 lbs SO2 (acid rain)
  • Equivalent to planting 12,952 trees each year
  • Equivalent to keeping not driving 9,506,740 miles in a car annually
  • Equivalent to powering 888 large homes with renewable energy