The Acorn School for early childhood development case study


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The Acorn School is an educational facility located in Boulder Colorado. The Mission of The Acorn School for Early Childhood Development is to provide high quality, accessible, early care and education programs and to advocate for higher standards in the field of early childhood education. was contracted to assist the The Acorn School with increasing the efficiency of its building and operations. After reviewing the wants, needs, and goals with The Acorn School staff, conducted a Sustainability Assessment that focused on simple, sustainable, and affordable efficiency opportunities that yielded the most benefit in savings, return on investment, and a reduction in energy consumption.

Lighting Retrofit and Use of Natural Light

  • Replaced (110) - 4 lamp T12 332 Watt fixtures with 2 lamp 104 Watt T8 fixtures
  • Replaced (75) - T12 332 Watt fixtures with 3 lamp 156 Watt T8 fixtures
  • Replaced (36) - 65 Watt Recessed Cans with 10.5 Watt LED Lamps

Use of Rebates

  • Solar: Estimated $20,000 in rebates from Xcel Energy, and Boulder Energy Smart
  • Estimated $11,300 dollars from a City of Boulder Grant
  • Lighting: Over $15,000 in total rebates
  • Roof Top Units: Between $3,000 and $5,000 in rebates
  • Hot Water Heater: $350 dollars in rebates
  • Use of rebates paid for 67% of the first floor investment and 58% of the second floor
  • Lighting Rebates received totaled over $15,000 dollars


  • Return on Investment Dropped from 41 to 18 Months for lighting retrofit
  • Energy Consumption was reduced by an estimated 121,465 killowatt hours per year
  • Estimated Annual savings from lighting retrofit totalled $9,785

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