A Shady Deal Helps Cool Schools

The Department of Water and Power launched its "Cool Schools" tree-planting program Wednesday as part of a drive to create energy-efficient, environmentally friendly campuses throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District.

More than 1,000 children attended ceremonies at Pico-Union's Magnolia Elementary School, where 88 trees were planted.

The $3-million program is designed to cut air-conditioning costs and emissions by planting 4,000 shade trees at 42 schools over the next 16 months, said DWP spokesman Walter Zeisl.

Four environmental groups will help schools develop landscaping plans that will provide optimal shading of buildings and design tree biology and ecology teaching materials for the district's curriculum, he added.

The Cool Schools program is one of a several DWP projects slated to begin this summer as part of the utility's efforts to comply with AB 1890, California's utility restructuring law that was passed in 1997, Zeisl said.

The legislation required electrical utility companies to spend 2.85% of revenues on energy conservation, research and programs for low-income customers.

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