This commentary was originally posted on EDF’s Texas Clean Air Matters blog.

The Texas Legislature is back in session, and there will be, as always, a lot of discussion about how to fund schools. The school system in our state seems to be chronically short of funds to meet the demands of our growing state and its children.

But while the state-level politicians discuss, some school districts are taking matters into their own hands where they can. In the summer 2012, the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest school district in the U.S. and the state’s largest, hosted a student through the EDF Climate Corps program. The program trains graduate students to find energy savings in their host institutions or companies. The Climate Corps fellow at HISD found several potential projects to help save the district money. For example, HISD has approximately 1,000 temporary buildings. The fellow found that if all the trailer-type temporary buildings’ lighting and wall air conditioning units and box heaters were upgraded and had insulation installed, at an upfront cost of $453,000, the district would realize over $62,000 in annual savings, nearly 700 kilowatt hours in annual electricity savings, and an annual reduction of approximately 400 metric tons of carbon dioxide. And that’s just one project!

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