“This project has been profoundly rewarding for the Carrier team and serves as a reminder of how important our work can be. Not only were we able to improve the environment for thousands of students and their teachers, but these systems are also saving the school district money, which it plans to reallocate to academics,” says Chris Opie, director, North America commercial marketing.
The success of the project has been recognized with a national award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance’s Advanced Rooftop Unit Campaign (ARC). The award-winning upgrade was facilitated by Carrier in collaboration with one of its energy-management customers, SmartWatt. “This has been a tremendous opportunity for SmartWatt and Carrier to identify and deliver a comprehensive package of savings and comfort upgrades in a critical environment,” says Joshua Veblen, business unit manager, SmartWatt.
Before the project began, Fontana school administrators faced a challenge shared by many school districts with aging rooftop air-conditioning units and control systems that are near the end of their useful life.
“We spent a lot of time visiting classrooms trying to figure out how to cool them down during the hottest times of the year,” says Robert Copeland, director, Fontana Unified School District, maintenance and operations. “It was not an ideal classroom environment for our students.”
School systems can struggle to secure the funding to cover such a comprehensive climate control upgrade. The California Clean Energy Jobs Act, commonly known as Proposition 39, allocates funds to improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation in schools, according to the California Energy Commission website.