In 2012, the Engineering Department of the county-operated Kern Medical Center worked with PG&E and kW Engineering to replace their outdated central plant with more energy efficient equipment. A new plant for their HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) unit was built for the Kern Medical Center consisting of: a computerized control room, two boilers replacing ten boilers, an absorption chiller, cooling towers, and several water pumps. PG&E provided the County of Kern an incentive of $37,715 for the retrofit. The updated central plant is estimated to save 207,636 kWh of electricity annually, which is enough to power about 32 homes in the county per year.
The City of Arvin, with the assistance of the Redevelopment Agency, renovated 7 local businesses to make them more energy efficient. The city worked in partnership with PG&E, San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, Staples Energy, and Kern Energy Watch. The story focuses on the revamping of Bear Mountain Pizza with the installation of new doors and windows, a new roof with solar panels, and a new air conditioning unit. The updated Bear Mountain Pizza experiences a 20% reduction in energy cost and a 15% increase in dine-in customers.
The City of Bakersfield worked with PG&E, U.S. Department of Energy, Parsons Corporation, and national renewable energy corporation System 3 Inc. to increase the capacity of Bakersfield Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 3 in order to meet California title requirements. A solar panel field was installed to help reduce carbon emissions and double the plant’s capacity. Solar power made increasing energy efficiency in Bakersfield a breeze. The treatment plant is now able to withstand projected population growth of the city in upcoming years.
California City used Southern California Edison’s On-Bill Financing Program to retrofit Water Well Pump 15A, saving the city over $16,000 annually. Energy audits conducted by Layne Christensen Company Water Resources Division helped determine which water well pumps were running inefficiently. The audit concluded that, of the 6 water well pumps running in the city, Water Well Pump 15A was the culprit. SCE’s On-Bill Financing Program is a revolving fund that loans out money to other energy efficiency projects as previous projects pay back the program. The new and improved Water Well Pump 15A is so efficient that the funding was paid back to SCE in about 3 years.
Roll Global’s Paramount Citrus utilized the small yet powerful energy of fuel cells to power their Halos processing plant in Delano, CA. The Department of Energy provided Roll Global a 30% tax credit and the California Public Utilities Commission provided a $2,700/kW rebate via the self-generation incentive program (SGIP) for up to 3 MW to help fund the project. The self-generating nature of fuel cells makes them so energy efficient that Roll Global will be able to pay back their investment of $16,114,194 in 6.5 years.
This article was taken out of Kern Energy Watch’s Q1 2015 Newsletter: The City of Maricopa’s Department of Housing and Community Development received a 2010-2011 State Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the State of California for the purposes of implementing a community-wide energy conservation public program. On May 29, 2014, the City of Maricopa along with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) welcomed residents to Gusher Hall to learn more about the free weatherization program offered by Staples Energy. 27 residents signed up for the weatherization program.
The City of McFarland developed an energy action plan through the Kern Regional Action Plan (Kern REAP) project. With the help of Environmental Science Associates, McFarland was able to benchmark city buildings to develop a plan on how to make the city more energy efficient. McFarland was able to uncover vital information on the city’s energy usage that became a guide on how to save money. The city was able to develop their energy action plan with the assistance of Kern Council of Governments and Southern California Edison. Some of McFarland’s energy action plan consisted of: installing a new HVAC unit at City Hall, purchasing GEM electric cars for city staff, and replacing an old heater at the Police Department. Increasing energy efficiency will be an important objective for the City of McFarland for years to come.
The City of Ridgecrest continues to be a good example of energy conservation for their residents. Former Councilman Chip Holloway, Councilwoman Lori Acton and Ridgecrest City Staff Dorene Morgan headed the City of Ridgecrest’s Take 5! for Energy Efficiency Door-to-Door Campaign. They were assisted by the Ridgecrest Lions Club and Kern Energy Watch to distribute energy efficient information to 300 households. The theme of the campaign was: “You can enjoy life while cutting your energy costs”. The city has also launched the HERO Program which offers low interest home improvement loans while allowing residents to pay the loan alongside their property tax bill. The City of Ridgecrest continues to look for ways to improve energy efficiency while maintaining costs for their residents.
The City of Shafter, with help from San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, Kern Council of Governments, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and PG&E, replaced outdated high pressure sodium lighting with light emitting diode (LED) lighting throughout the city. As part of PG&E’s LED Street Light Program, Shafter replaced 135 lights overall. This allowed the city to reduce their carbon emissions by over 20,000 pounds per year and save over $5,000 a year. Streetlights throughout the city are now brighter and greener, improving Shafter’s energy efficiency.
Upon joining the Kern Energy Watch Partnership, the City of Taft worked with PG&E and Staples Energy to provide free energy audit reports to small, local businesses as a way to help save them money by increasing energy efficient. The audits showed that many businesses needed updated lighting. New ballasts (the part of a light fixture that provides the electric charge to the light bulb) and compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs were installed at Waldrop’s Auto Parts and Machine Shop, Compressor Parts Unlimited, Black Gold Brewing Company, and The Independent newspaper office. Taft’s small, local businesses can now take pride in saving money through energy efficiency.
The City of Tehachapi, with the assistance of the State Water Resources Control Board and Southern California Edison, made their wastewater treatment facility more efficient by installing the WWTP SCADA computer system. The new computer system has made tedious, manual adjustments to the facility quick and electronic, increasing the amount of wastewater and water service connections each operator can oversee. The facility requires one operator for every 1,000 wastewater and water service connections, which is far above the average of one operator for every 600. Sludge is no longer a problem for Tehachapi, with the new system saving the city 195,307 kWh annually.
The City of Wasco asked their PG&E Representative, Christine Forster, to audit their meters to discover ways on how to cut back on energy consumption and to save money. 17 meters of Wasco’s meters were audited. It was determined that Water Well 8 was using the most electricity and costing the city the most money. By changing their electric billing rate plan, the City of Wasco was able to save money during peak times of energy usage. The city was then able to reduce their yearly electricity bill by 10.3% with just the savings from Water Well 8. Water Well 8 reduced electricity costs for the city by $36,557. With their new billing rate plan implemented, the City of Wasco has been able to save money and energy during times of peak energy use.
Here are some tips on how you can improve your energy efficiency at home: Take 5! for Energy Conservation.