High Tech High, SDG&E create living classroom at 'green' charter school

Mar 24, 2009

Media Contact:
April Bolduc

San Diego Gas & Electric

(877) 866-2066



        SAN DIEGO, March 24, 2009 – At the charter school’s grand opening today, High Tech High Chula Vista and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) showcased how the sustainable design of the school itself will be used as a living classroom on renewable energy.  SDG&E owns the school’s rooftop solar panels, installed by HelioPower, which provide locally generated power to the school and the community. 

        “This solar system marks a milestone for SDG&E, because, with its installation, we now have more than 1 megawatt of solar-generating capability on the rooftops of 10 highly energy-efficient commercial buildings throughout San Diego County,” said Hal D. Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E.  “The project at High Tech High is the third largest solar system in Chula Vista and will support nearly two-thirds of the school’s energy use.” 

        High Tech High Chula Vista is the first school in San Diego County to register for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Schools Certification, the nationally accepted certification for high performance green buildings.

        “Our entire learning community is thrilled to be on our brand-new campus, where teachers will use the sustainable features of the building and the grounds as teaching tools on a daily basis – like a living classroom,” said Colleen Green, director of High Tech High Chula Vista.  “Students are taking advantage of the space to create beautiful projects.  We hope that as our students and staff continue their work, High Tech High Chula Vista becomes a learning tool for others in the South Bay, including educators, students and community members alike.” 

        The school currently has 300 students enrolled and, at full capacity, will host 600 students.  It is one of five such charter high schools in San Diego County.   

        Other clean-energy features at High Tech High Chula Vista include high-efficiency lighting, recycled building materials, water-saving measures and drought-resistant landscape.  The school is 37-percent more energy-efficient than required by California building codes, which is expected to translate to a savings of 155,000 kilowatt hours annually – the equivalent of removing 108 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.  

        Since 2000, SDG&E has worked with High Tech High to design energy-efficient schools.  The utility specializes in energy efficiency and sustainability programs for new commercial construction, providing cash incentives and technical assistance to builders wanting to build energy-efficient buildings.  High Tech High is one of 23 energy-efficient projects on which SDG&E has collaborated.  The school will receive an incentive check for more than $46,000 for its energy-saving measures.

        “We are very proud to have participated in the High Tech High solar electricity system with SDG&E,” said Steve LoRusso, vice president of sales for HelioPower.  “SDG&E is a forward-thinking utility with a great commitment to green energy.  This project is a stand-out example of how solar photovoltaic technology fits into a larger, green building program.  In teaching students now about the benefits of renewable energy it also contributes to solar awareness in future generations.”

        HelioPower is a leading sustainable energy integration firm.  With California offices in Murrieta, Sacramento, and Berkeley, HelioPower designs and installs renewable energy systems, in particular solar photovoltaic technology, for residential and commercial clients throughout California and Nevada.  To reach HelioPower call 1 87 SOLAR 888 toll free or visit www.HelioPower.com.

        High Tech High Chula Vista is located at 1945 Discovery Falls Dr., Chula Vista, CA, 92115.  For more information on the school call (619) 591-2100 or visit www.hightechhigh.org/schools/HTHCV.

        SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 840,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties.  The utility’s area spans 4,100 square miles.  Exceptional customer service is a priority of SDG&E as it seeks to enhance the region’s quality of life.  SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.