Sunnyvale School District and Silicon Valley Clean Energy Team Up to Upgrade Local School With Clean, Green Heat Pumps

Sunnyvale School District and Silicon Valley Clean Energy Team Up to Upgrade Local School With Clean, Green Heat Pumps

Project reduces fossil fuels and improves air quality

Sunnyvale, Calif. – The Sunnyvale School District and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) are proud to announce the completion of a clean building upgrade at Vargas Elementary School. Combining a $500,000 grant from SVCE with other funding sources, the District was able to replace the school’s old gas furnaces with 12 new electric heat pumps that will improve air quality and serve as a demonstration project for other schools and buildings.

“I’m truly proud of the leadership role we can play in demonstrating clean, efficient electric heaters that reflect the District Board’s commitment to environmental stewardship,” said District Superintendent Dr. Michael Gallagher. “This project is clearly a win-win solution for students and the community.”

The new, electric heat pumps will replace furnaces that released over 6 tons of CO2 per year and over 18 pounds of nitrous oxide per year – which directly contribute to smog that causes asthma and other illnesses. In a recent study, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District found that eliminating pollution from gas-powered space and water heaters will substantially improve overall regional air quality and reduce annual health impacts by $890 million.

“We couldn’t be happier to see one of our local school districts make these important environmental improvements,” said Larry Klein, City of Sunnyvale Mayor and SVCE Board Director. “Students, teachers and community members will learn first-hand about the many benefits that come with electric technology investments when they are showcased at our public buildings – like Vargas Elementary.”

The District’s Director of Facilities and Operations, Brandt Burns, initiated the project and noted, “The campus HVAC units were reaching the end of their useful life, so we took this opportunity to design a project that breaks away from the ‘replace in kind’ mindset that we have been accustomed to. We are seizing this opportunity to design this project to electrify the replacement units and shift away from our dependency on gas.”

The use of electric heat pumps to both heat and cool buildings is growing rapidly throughout the US as more property owners look for ways to reduce their carbon emissions. There are now a wide array of rebates and incentives being offered by local, state, and federal governments to support this conversion.

Customers interested in exploring the benefits of electric technologies can learn more at the SVCE eHub and utilize SVCE rebates to help achieve a healthier home or business. Learn more about available rebates at

About Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency providing clean electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to more than 277,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 Santa Clara County jurisdictions. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is advancing innovative solutions to fight climate change by decarbonizing the grid, transportation, and buildings. Learn more at

SVCE Contact: 
Pamela Leonard, Deputy Director of Marketing & Communications
(408) 549-2671


About Sunnyvale School District

The Sunnyvale School District provides every student with a strong foundation of academic, behavioral, and social-emotional skills to prepare them for success in a diverse, challenging, and changing environment. The district is guided by its comprehensive plan based on its core belief in students, outstanding teachers, staff, and administrators, collaborative planning, fiscal responsibility, and dedication to providing personalized and differentiated instruction that meets individual students’ needs. The Sunnyvale School District operates a preschool program, eight elementary schools, and two middle schools in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Sunnyvale School District Contact
Alia Wilson, Communications Coordinator
(408) 522-8200 ext. 1084 (Work)
(925) 858-9540 (Cell)