Exeter adds efficiencies to city buildings and schools

The City of Exeter will be saving money while it keeps cool this summer.

The City has installed brand-spanking new energy efficient air conditioning units with energy saving programmable thermostats, replacing aging existing units in its buildings. The City also will install new lights that are also significantly more energy efficient.

“The air conditioning upgrades at Exeter City Hall and the Exeter Police Department have been a tremendous enhancement to each of these facilities, both in terms of energy efficiency as well as operational efficiency,” said Randy Groom, City Administrator.

“City Hall was constructed in the early 1930s, when energy conservation was rarely considered. Over the years the building has been modernized, but heating and air conditioning systems have been hard-pressed to serve efficiently while fitting in to the originally designed spaces.”

Groom said already staff has seen dramatic improvements in the performance of the systems and in the comfort of all who use City buildings. “We are looking forward to additional savings and efficiencies with lighting system upgrades scheduled throughout our police facility,” he said.

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 30,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $3,600 a year.

The City also is responsible for about another 26,000 kWh of savings, or about $3,120 a year. Exeter allocated about half the federal grant it’s using on this project to Exeter Public Schools, enabling the district to upgrade AC units on Exeter High School, Lincoln Elementary and Wilson Middle School.

And that’s a big deal in these troubled economic times.

Another big deal is that the entire project isn’t costing the City a dime. The money from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission.

Exeter joined with 35 other cities and counties in the region to form the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Partnership, which is led by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District with the assistance of the nonprofit San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization. The Partnership administers the more than $4 million in grants and provides technical assistance to local governments.

Mural in dowtown Exeter by Colleen Mitchell-Veyna.