Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC (Oncor), an Energy Future Holdings Corporation unit, has awarded $70,000 to the Richardson school district (RISD) for energy conservation efforts. The amount is a rebate for improvements RISD made in 2008 to reduce its energy consumption. RISD is a participant in Oncor's Texas Schools Conserving Energy program, which teams up with school districts to devise plans to improve energy efficiency.

Mesquite, Plano, Arlington and Coppell school districts also participate in the program.

From a financial standpoint, $70,000 is a lot of money, said RISD Superintendent David Simmons. But more importantly, this recognizes the commitment level of our staff to operate more efficiently. Each year, we’ll be able to save more money.

RISD’s improvements include the replacement of four heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems as well as two roofs. It also replaced lights in 30 elementary and nine middle school gyms. The new lightsturn on and off more quickly than the older lights, which had to remain turned on all day.

The new system also includes motion sensors that lights up only the part of the gym which is being used.

RISD Spokesman Tim Clark said that the district has saved more than $400,000 with various upgrades since 2000 under partnerships with Oncor and other utility providers.

This is a way for us to partner with [school districts] to ensure them that the money is spent in the classroom and not on energy, said Carol Peters, a spokeswoman for Oncor.