Spotlighting Energy Efficiency in California Communities


Learn what local governments are doing in this EE summary of local government activity released July 2012 from the SEEC NGO, the Institute for Local Government. Excerpts of local government municipal savings, and community engagement, are below:

Municipal Facility Activities

  • Using a performance agreement with an outside firm, the City of Tulare retrofitted all city buildings — where cost effective — with high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, double-paned windows, efficient fluorescent lighting, programmable thermostats and reflective roof coating.
  • Santa Clarita used American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for lighting retrofits in agency facilities. The retrofits save the city nearly 284,000 kilowatt hours a year, translating into annual savings of approximately $32,100.
  • Chula Vista installed new high-efficiency boilers at two municipal aquatic centers, resulting in more than 75,000 therms in annual natural gas savings. The city saves 300,000 kilowatt hours annually from heating and air conditioning energy efficiency upgrades at the city’s public works facility. Combined, the projects save the city about $97,000 annually.
  • Glendale recently finished a third round of energy efficiency upgrades in 23 city facilities. Retrofits included heating and air conditioning, lighting and vending machine upgrades. The city also installed equipment to transfer energy use to off-peak hours. These efforts reduced annual energy use by 2.3 million kilowatt hours and 47,000 gas therms, saving $180,000 per year.
  • Sonoma County implemented 38 energy efficiency retrofit measures in 24 county buildings, including lighting retrofits in 20 buildings and heating and air conditioning upgrades in four facilities. This project reduced the county’s energy utility bills by 33 percent, translating to $1.6 million in savings annually, with a total savings of $38 million over the 25-year life of the project.

Activities Engaging the Community

  • Pleasanton worked with Pacific Gas and Electric to develop a program targeting business owners. It provides businesses with free energy audits, written recommendations, payback analyses and information on rebates and incentives. As a result, local businesses reduced energy use by more than one megawatt, approximately enough energy to power 300 homes annually.
  • Palm Springs achieved 9 percent energy savings from 2005 levels in the community. Its partnership activities include marketing, outreach and education to connect the community with utility rebate and energy-saving incentive programs.
  • Chula Vista receives resources to help identify unique ways to promote energy efficiency in its community. City staff attributes much of the program’s success to a positive working relationship with San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as the resources the utility provides through the partnership.
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