High Tech High, Energy Champion 2010, SDG&E Energy Showcase, Sustainable Communities winner


[Narrator] High Tech High – schools dedicated to energy efficiency, sustainable design and teaching by example. [Christopher Gerber] High Tech High is about giving students choice. And so, we're a public charter school, and the students and families have an opportunity to attend a school that does have more of a focus on math, science, and technology. We make sure that the school is designed to be a comfortable place. A place that can be personalized, and adapted over time, because these are fifty year buildings and we know that the curriculum is going to change. The student body is going to change. The desire for the community's metrics on what student success actually looks like will change. So we have to design a building that actually adapts to the everyday environment. [Narrator] And creating that environment required a strategic approach, starting with design. [Christopher Gerber] We find it's really important to engage the utility company early in the design process, to help our engineers consider other lighting alternatives or mechanical design alternatives.

We also make sure that we are reducing, not only the demand of energy, but increasing as much as we can the supply of energy. So on reducing demand, we make sure that we put lights where we need lights, and we buy as efficient fixtures as we can, but that also we are introducing daylighting with skylights to reduce even further when we need to have those lights on. And then on the supply side, we are introducing wind and photovoltaic renewable energy sources so that we can supply our own needs as much as possible. At High Tech High Chula Vista, as an example, the photovoltaic system is generating as much energy as we use for about nine months out of the year, which is seventy-five percent. We design all of our projects to be learning tools in themselves, so the building is a three dimensional textbook. The school itself is a learning tool, and so the students are able to speak to the environmental attributes. They are able to speak to our operating program. The students are actually doing projects in renewable energy, and they're trying to find solutions to everyday problems.

They're not abstract programs about Pluto or Mars. They are real world problems about planet Earth. [Narrator] High Tech High – 2010 Sustainable Communities Energy Champion. .