Schools receiving energy makeovers


Avg energy savings in pilot schools


Schools in the pipeline for energy projects


Jobs created


Ongoing Projects

GESA-1, Phase 1: Energy Makeovers

Construction is ongoing on the first non-pilot phase of energy makeovers (administered via PA’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Act, or “GESA”), which includes three schools: Conwell MS, Gompers ES and Lincoln HS. GESA allows the District to contract for all needed energy conservation and related capital measures with a single vendor, in this case, Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI), who was selected via a public procurement for up to 20 schools. The selected schools will be addressed in 5 phases. JCI must provide an energy performance guarantee, which makes it possible to ensure that the energy savings offsets the debt incurred as projected during the project development process.

The buildings will receive significant HVAC, lighting, building envelope and other upgrades, including adding air conditioning at both Conwell and Gompers, and updating ventilation to ensure needed airflow for health and safety, especially important in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Construction is expected to be completed in 2021. This phase reflects a roughly $25 million investment.

PEA provides technical and process support to the District on these and other energy-related projects.

GESA-1, Phase 2: Energy Makeovers

Construction will begin on GESA-1, Phase 2, in early 2021. The phase includes 4 schools: Carnell ES, Willard ES, Feltonville Arts & Sciences (6-8) and Juniata Park Academy (K-8). This phase will reflect a $20MM investment. As in other schools, improvements will include lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, hazmat remediation and building envelope. Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.


PEA supported the district to develop an energy performance contracting pilot that demonstrated real energy savings, established a scalable model, and is easily replicable across the district. The $23 million pilot project, awarded to NORESCO, yielded an average of 38% energy savings across three high schools: Walter B. Saul Agricultural School, Strawberry Mansion High School, and Northeast High School. The energy efficiency upgrades implemented at these schools included installation of new boilers, windows, daylight-controlled lighting, and ventilation units to circulate fresh air into the classrooms. Energy efficiency renovations will save the district an estimated $375,000 a year in energy costs. Construction was substantially complete in 2020.

GESA 1, Phase 3: Energy Makeovers

Phase 3 of the JCI GESA-1 project is currently under development, and should be able to be submitted to the Board of Education for approval in mid-2021. This phase is part of the original 5-phase procurement awarded to JCI in 2019.

PEA continues to urge the District to release another procurement for the next bundle of schools.

PA’s 1st CTE program in Solar and Weatherization

In 2019, PEA was awarded $1.25 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to help create a new vocational training program focused on youth and young adults for solar installation and weatherization. With the leadership of the District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) team, the District won approval from the state Department of Education to launch their first new CTE program, and the first of its kind in PA.

The new Solar Energy CTE program launched for 10th graders in Fall 2020 at Frankford High School (learning virtually due to Covid-19). Students will receive 1,080 hours of content to be delivered between 10th and 12th grade, making it the most advanced solar training of its kind in the nation. Students will receive extensive instruction in solar installation, design, and sales, as well as energy efficiency and weatherization, electrical basics and construction safety. Student will graduate with field experience, internships and industry certifications, and will receive job placement support.

For more information on solar training and the Bright Solar Futures program:

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Solar Schools Report (2019)

In 2019, with additional funding support from PECO, PEA commissioned a study to assess the viability of installing solar rooftop configurations on a sample set of public schools. The study was conducted by two of the top region’s subject matter experts, Ron Celentano of Celentano Energy Services and Roger Clark of Roger Clark Consulting.

The study analyzed electric bills for 2017 and 2018, along with usage of 4 schools. Solar PV roof layouts were designed for each building. The assessment overall usage patterns showed 1,218,234 kilowatt-hours could be generated in the first year of operations, which would offset approximately 45% of the electricity consumption for those schools.