California Community College Board of Governors Honors Districts for Sustainability Efforts

Christina Jimenez
T 916.322.4004


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One dozen California community colleges and college districts have been honored with annual Energy and Sustainability Awards for their work on environmentally sensitive projects that are saving taxpayers more than $2 million annually.

North Orange Community College District, Chaffey Community College District, Victor Valley Community College District, Saddleback College, De Anza Community College, San Bernardino Community College District and Orange Coast College were named winners of the 2019 Excellence in Energy and Sustainability award competition and were recognized at the California Community Colleges Board of Governors meeting on Jan. 14 in Sacramento.

In addition, San Bernardino Community College District Director of Facilities, Planning and Construction Farrah Farzaneh has been named the 2019 California Community Colleges Excellence in Sustainability – Sustainability Champion for her leadership in a number of successful projects and initiatives, including the first zero net energy building in the California Community Colleges system.

“With 115 colleges across the state, the California Community Colleges have a responsibility to meet the state’s climate change goals,” said Board of Governors President Tom Epstein. “The Board is pleased to recognize this year’s winners for setting the standard in taking action to protect our environment while saving taxpayer dollars.”

The Board of Governors Energy and Sustainability Awards were established in 2012 to recognize leadership in implementing goals set forth in Proposition 39, also known as the California Clean Energy Jobs Act, to improve energy efficiency and expand clean energy generation in schools.

Awards are granted in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Energy and Sustainability – Proposition 39 Projects
  • Excellence in Energy and Sustainability – Faculty/Student Initiatives
  • Excellence in Energy and Sustainability – Sustainability Champion

Excellence in Energy and Sustainability – Proposition 39 Projects:

Best Overall District (Large): North Orange Community College District, Cypress College’s Chilled Water Thermal Energy Storage

Cypress College’s innovative, 10,000 ton-hour Thermal Energy Storage system is connected to a chilled water campus loop, which reduces electricity demand. This $7.82-million project included more than $1.7 million of Proposition 39 funds and will save Cypress College $162,000 in annual energy costs by cutting 448,000 kilowatt-hours.

  • Honorable Mention: Mt. San Antonio Community College District, Mt. San Antonio College – Chilled Water Thermal Energy Storage

Best Overall District (Medium): Chaffey Community College District, Chaffey College Photovoltaic Installation

The Chaffey Community College District was honored for a 5.5-megawatt, solar carport photovoltaic project at three of its four campuses that cost $19.3 million, including more than $1.5 million in Proposition 39 money. Estimates show this project will save Chaffey more than $1.2 million annually in energy costs.

  • Honorable Mention: Palomar Community College District, Interior Lighting Retrofit

Best Overall District (Small): Victor Valley Community College District, Exterior Lighting Retrofit

Victor Valley College performed a comprehensive campus-wide, exterior LED lighting retrofit with fixtures in walkways, parking lots and elsewhere. Total cost was more than $1.1 million, which included $691,000 in Proposition 39 funding. The project is saving an estimated 404,000 kilowatt hours and $59,000 annually.

  • Honorable Mention: Imperial Valley Community College District, Interior Lighting Retrofit

Retrofit Project Winner: Saddleback College – Interior Lighting Retrofit Phase I

Saddleback College leveraged its Proposition 39 funding to retrofit the lighting in numerous buildings. Total cost of the project was nearly $1.4 million, of which $1.2 million came from Proposition 39. The project will save Saddleback approximately 554,000 kilowatt hours and reduce energy bills by $139,000 annually.

  • Honorable Mention: Fresno City College, Interior Lighting Retrofit

Commissioning Project Winner: De Anza Community College – S-Quad Monitoring Based Commissioning

De Anza College has, over the past few years, focused on improving the operational efficiency in existing buildings. A pair of Monitoring Based Commissioning projects costing $52,000 will save De Anza 168,000 kilowatt hours and reduce bills by $55,000 annually.

  • Honorable Mention: Glendale Community College – San Gabriel Building Retro Commissioning AHU and Exhaust Systems Optimization (Electric)

Self-Generation Project Winner: San Bernardino Community College District – District Office Solar Photovoltaic System

As part of its ongoing sustainability efforts, the San Bernardino Community College District installed a 174 kilowatt solar carport photovoltaic system in its district parking lot, providing renewable energy to the facility and shading parked cars. The $900,000 project was almost entirely paid for through Proposition 39 and is saving the district 310,000 kilowatt hours annually and reducing utility bills by $41,000.

Excellence in Energy and Sustainability – Faculty/Student Initiative Award

Orange Coast College’s Student Initiated Sustainability Plan

Orange Coast College, in creating a new sustainability plan, opted to focus on a student-driven initiative. Student interns worked in collaboration with campus faculty, staff and administrators to evaluate issues such as campus engagement, social equity, energy, water, transportation, waste and purchasing. The resulting 2018 Orange Coast College Sustainability Plan is now the planning document for all sustainability-driven activities at the campus.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 115 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.



Fall 2024 Conference registration has launched!