One important fact that should be added is that many of the green improvements could not have been accomplished without generous funding by City Utilities. State law requires utilities to collect a certain amount of money for projects that advance the "public good" and Palo Alto has used some of those funds to assist the district.
Contributions to date have included $166,946 in rebates for energy-saving equipment, $215,000 for the design reviews and audits performed by Salas/O'Brien, and $150,000 in grants to develop curricula on conservation and alternative energy.
Two critical letters in the issue of Friday, Aug. 25, misunderstood Salas/O'Brien's list of "suggested improvements." The list was one of possible improvements, including photovoltaic (PV) systems, leaving it to the district to determine which are practical.
For the reasons stated in the Friday letters, it is clear that most PV systems are mostly not practical at this time and will therefore not be pursued. On the other hand, as the article noted, a combination of state rebates and private fundraising by the Sustainable Schools Committee led to installation of a 20-kilowatt PV system at Escondido School at no cost to the district.
It was a real public service to educate the community on the district's outstanding efforts, which have achieved major savings at low cost and rapid payback.
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