Business Affiliate perspective: Burlingame school district to continue improving energy infrastructure

By CSBA Business Affiliate Climatec

The Burlingame School District will break ground on its Energy Infrastructure and Sustainability Program Phase II in 2024. Burlingame schools will benefit from increased comfort, while on-site renewable energy generation and electrification improvements will reduce reliance on antiquated, gas-consuming equipment.

To promote productive, healthy learning environments, the district will modernize its HVAC infrastructure across all campuses to drastically improve comfort and indoor air quality. The HVAC systems will bring air conditioning to these spaces for the very first time, providing relief for students and teachers alike as the district experiences a growing number of warm weather days every year. New smart building automation systems will enhance ventilation, maximize energy efficiency and improve overall school operations.

Phase II includes the installation of parking, shade and rooftop solar structures at Burlingame Intermediate School, Franklin Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Roosevelt Elementary School and Washington Elementary School. Integrating renewable energy with efficiency improvements will offset increased energy consumption from introducing air conditioning. Moreover, this strategic move progresses the district toward net zero energy while meeting state mandates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our energy infrastructure will reflect Burlingame School District’s vision and mission,” said district Superintendent Marla Silversmith. “Building resilient facilities with efficient, renewable energy standards promotes environmental stewardship for our community and encourages our problem-solvers to prepare for their future.”

Five years after implementing Phase I, the district’s Energy Infrastructure and Sustainability Program has already saved 4,200,000 kilowatt hours of energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 3,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. The program’s environmental benefits are equivalent to removing 662 cars off the road, powering 375 local homes, preserving 3,549 acres of U.S. forests and saving 334,924 gallons of gasoline.

Over the past 18 months, the district completed in-depth assessments to develop the Phase II scope of work, with a focus on efficiency, electrification and renewable generation measures that align with Measure O priorities. On May 9, 2023, the board authorized Phase II for implementation, which allowed for the final stage of design and engineering, review by the Division of State Architect (DSA) and equipment procurement.

In addition to leveraging Measure O to revitalize infrastructure and reduce ongoing General Fund operating expenditures, Phase II will also attract federal incentives.  Even with increased energy consumption from new air conditioning, the on-site solar generation will allow the Burlingame SD to mitigate rising utility costs and produce a net positive return for its bottom line. As systems are brought online, the district will finalize applications for federal incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“By switching to modernized energy solutions, the Burlingame School District is not only reducing our energy footprint but also forming school environments which support learning and collaboration,” said trustee Lisa Mudd. “These sustainability improvements harmonize the work we do in the classroom with the operation of our school facilities.”

Construction for HVAC modernizations and solar is scheduled to commence in early 2024 and is anticipated for completion before the start of the 2024-2025 school year. Construction activities will be coordinated to avoid disruptions to the learning environment and school operations.

Climatec is a CSBA Business Affiliate that helps public agencies find general fund relief through renewed infrastructure and funding solutions. Visit the Climatec website to learn more »