The optimal assessment of benefits reaped from energy efficiency retrofits at schools across the state was the focus of a Feb. 19 Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee hearing. \u201cThe benefits supposedly are passed on to the general public and utilities that serve them,\u201d said Sen. Alex Padilla, (D-Pacoima) committee chair. \u201cHow can we realize these energy savings?\u201d Given the large variance in the age and location of school buildings in California, there\u2019s debate over the evaluation and verification methodologies of energy savings from upgrading heating and air conditioning systems and adding insulation, to swapping in double-paned windows, more day lighting, and other efficiency measures. That includes the issue of whether to expand the measuring tools to include improved classroom environments, job creation, lower utility bills, and reduced peak demand. Quantifying \u201cless draftiness and more light\u201d in classrooms, for example, \u201cgets pretty complicated and controversial,\u201d said Pete Skala, California Public Utilities Commission manager, demand-side analysis. \u201cOur tests do not include environmental benefits and job creation,\u201d he added. The commission measures and verifies the claimed energy savings from investor-owned utilities\u2019 ratepayer-funded programs. California\u2019s nearly 10,000 schools are estimated to use 12 percent of energy consumed by the commercial sector. In 2011, the state\u2019s general fund spent more than $1 billion on school energy costs, \u201cmore than was spent on school books and supplies, combined,\u201d according to the committee analysis. Getting measurable benefits from reducing energy use at schools--from lower energy bills for the financially-strapped institutions to creating efficiency jobs--also was the subject of earlier hearings in January because of the $2.5 billion infusion to efficiency retrofits under Proposition 39 approved by voters (Current, Feb. 1, 2013). Public schools can partner with public agencies and private companies, including investor-owned utilities, on efficiency upgrades. Measuring the claimed savings is and remains controversial. The commission, for example, after verifying the investor-owned utilities\u2019 2006-09 energy efficiency triennial programs concluded they accomplished only between 60-70 percent of the claimed energy savings. Verification of the 2010-12 utility programs is being finalized.