DOE to save $24 million with new energy-saving program

The Hawaii Dept. of Education is going green.

The department announced Wednesday a new five-year sustainable energy program called Ka Hei, which will install sustainable energy equipment in all public schools, including solar photovoltaic panels, solar hot water heaters and recycling bins. The program is expected to save more than $24 million in operating expenses over the next five years.

The DOE says it spends more than $62 million a year on electricity, gas, water and sewage fees — a 50-percent increase over 10 years.

“We expect to install around 100 megawatts of clean renewable energy,” said Brian Kealoha, regional manager, Chevron Energy Solutions, which will help implement the program. “We expect reduce energy consumption at all the schools by 25 percent.”

Phase one calls for the implementation of renewable energy microgrids at three schools, one each on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu. The grids will allow each school to become a net-zero energy site. Phase two will furnish all 255 schools with clean-energy generation.

The DOE will also expand education to teach students and faculty the importance of energy awareness.

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