Stance for Sustainability
Canutillo ISD Cultivates Conservation Efforts
Posted on 04/22/2022
This is the image for the news article titled Canutillo ISD Cultivates Conservation EffortsEarth Day is an opportunity for people all over the world to come together to celebrate and advocate for the health of our environment. Although a great occasion to observe, one day a year to show our planet some love is not enough to prompt significant change. Instead, if we resolve to make small significant changes in our daily lives we can have a greater impact.

Canutillo Independent School District has spent the last few years committed to cultivating change for the greater good by investing in projects that make the district and campuses more energy efficient and reducing the carbon footprint of the district. One of the main projects was the district-wide retrofitting of light-emitting diode (LED) lights from fluorescent lights.

LED lighting in comparison to fluorescent bulbs, are up to 80% more efficient. Unlike fluorescent lights, LED lights convert 95% of their energy into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. They require a much lower wattage and consume less power to illuminate.

“LED lights are many times more efficient than fluorescent lights. They illuminate better and consume less energy, and the quality of light is better for indoor environments,” Bruno Vasquez, said Canutillo ISD executive director of facilities and transportation. “A few small storage rooms and closets still have fluorescent lights but 100% of instructional space and working areas have LED lighting.”

Vasquez also points out that not only was the conversion to LED lighting a more sound choice for the environment but also a financial incentive for the district. Fluorescent bulbs burn out quicker than LED bulbs and need to be replaced more frequently. The life of an LED bulb can last 10 to 20 years with some rated for up to 25 years. Additionally, due to the toxic gasses inside the fluorescent bulbs, the district would have to outsource a company to dispose of them safely.

Every year, the district also participates in El Paso Electric’s Schools Conserving Resources (SCORE) Plus Program that incentives school districts and other public and governmental entities and agencies to save energy by offering a rebate on the costs of certain conservation projects.

One of the projects Canutillo ISD did through the SCORE Plus program was to replace the lights of the parking lot at Canutillo High School and Jose J. Alderete Middle School with LED lighting. The district is continuing subsequent work to retrofit exterior lighting throughout the district.

Heating and cooling efficiency is the most effective way to decrease overall energy consumption and Canutillo ISD is doing its part to help clear the air with programmable thermostats and controls as well as having made the conversion from evaporative coolers to refrigerated air.

“In terms of saving energy, the biggest bang for your buck remains with heating, ventilation and air conditioning,” Vasquez said. “We have an energy management system in place that allows us to set the temperatures by following national standards so that we know what the temperature range should be in the summer and winter. This allows us the opportunity to be efficient in managing the overall temperature of all facilities and campuses.”

Taking a stance for sustainability does pose some challenges such as costs to implement and maintain more sound conservation projects. The district always needs to stay mindful of maintaining a balance between efficiency and financial responsibility.

“There is a positive impact on the district’s energy consumption, being more efficient and having a lower carbon footprint, but because of our fiduciary responsibility to our community we must also focus on making sure sustainability projects are in the best interest of not only the environment but the economy of our district,” Vasquez said.

Despite challenges, Canutillo ISD keeps looking forward by exploring the potential of future projects aimed to positively impact our environment. One such possibility is the idea of implementing electric buses along with the necessary infrastructure. The other is to have some district campuses or facilities run by solar power.

Whatever the future of sustainability may bring, Canutillo ISD remains committed to upholding a commitment to conservation and keep evolving to meet the needs of today without compromising tomorrow.

Happy Earth Day!