Ideal Academy Public Charter

DC charter school seamlessly integrates partners and incentives for maximized benefit.





Financing Term

72 Months

Expected Savings


CO2 Reduction

451,565 lbs/year


Washington, DC

The Problem

Washington D.C. based Ideal Academy Public Charter School provides high quality education for children grades K-12. The non-profit commits its budget to improving quality education access for inner city children, and has limited excess funds for other projects, even necessary ones. Despite this challenge, Ideal Academy was determined to switch to LED lighting for financial, aesthetic, and environmental reasons.

The Players

GB Energie

Ideal Academy solicited a full project proposal from local efficiency contractor, GB Energie. GB Energie LED is a minority and woman-owned business committed to sourcing sustainable energy solutions, with a particular focus on give-back programs in education, technical training, and healthcare.

GB Energie's mission makes them a prime candidate for connecting funding and rebate options through DCSEU's market, which holds a particular focus on reaching out to underserved populations in DC.


The team at DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) understands the technical and financial components necessary to bring energy savings projects to fruition, and frequently host events to connect interested parties. Attendees run the gamut, ranging from contractors and distributors to building/facility owners and financiers. Trade Allies who participate in the network find it a meaningful outlet for talking to prospective customers of their energy savings products.

Armed with project specs from GB, Ideal Academy's next hurdle was to find a way to finance their desired retrofit. Involvement in the DCSEU network provided the school with access to financiers interested in DC-area projects.


It was at one fortuitous DCSEU event that the meeting between Sparkfund and GB Energie took place. As a Sparkfund partner, GB Energie can offer simple, fast financing options in their customer proposals. Sparkfund helps partners sell cash-flow positive projects, eliminating upfront costs and encouraging building owners to move projects off the back-burner and into action.

The GB Energie - Sparkfund team offered Ideal Academy a financial product with custom terms which fit the school's need to draw the capital largely from realized energy savings, including the DCSEU $10,000 incentive.

Working with Sparkfund, DCSEU and GB was extremely smooth. Workers were very conscientious and communication was continuous, so there was no class or activity disruption, even when families occupying the building until 9PM or later. Everyone loves the new lights and we look forward to reinvesting the energy saving we see.

Zuella Evans, Ideal Academy PCS Business Manager

The Solution

The Ideal Academy case presented a "Fund, Furnish and Install" project; a challenge that the DCSEU network is well acquainted with, and they quickly facilitated the connection for the Sparkfund-GB-Academy trifecta.

Sparkfund was the clear choice for financier, DCSEU sourced incentives to reduce total project cost, and GB took care of technical specifications and selecting an LED distributor.

GB Energie selected Revolution Lighting Technologies' LED Solutions to retrofit the interior and exterior lighting systems at the school. The installation of T8 SEP LED Tubes and Uni-Fit T5 Ballast Ready LED Tubes, combined with occupancy sensor lighting controls throughout all classroom areas, was completed with minimal interruption to scheduled classroom activity. The project will save Ideal Academy an expected $24,000 in energy costs and 451,565 lbs annually in CO2 emissions.

To see energy savings reinvested in books, personnel, programs, and professional development is just wonderful. Research shows that healthy, well-lit learning environments directly link to teacher effectiveness, student engagement and achievement. Sparkfund presents a timely and effortless way to finance energy efficiency projects in schools.

Cory Chimka, DCSEU Account Manager for K-12 facilities

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