Kings County goes green to cut costs

Kings County has launched several projects that will save energy and money.

County crews have installed more than 2,800 lights and 300 ballasts, casting a brighter glow on office workers. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the County much needed cash on its utility bills.

Another projects included installing hundreds of occupancy sensors that automatically shut off lights in rooms when there is no activity. The County also has hired a contractor to replace 21 existing HVAC units on County-owned buildings with modern and efficient units.

“I wasn’t sure we could utilize just the grant monies to complete the lighting and HVAC upgrades, but we decided to try to do as much as time and grant monies would allow,” said Gerry Showers, Kings County Building Maintenance Superintendent. “I have exceptional staff members in my maintenance department, and they once again proved it by completing the lighting installation of 2800+ tubes and 300 ballasts in house.

“We also went out for competitive bids on replacing 21 HVAC units and the installation of approximately 300 light sensors. We have utilized all the grant monies and did not have to match any funds, and the projects finished on time and under budget. I want to thank the grant administrator and staff for their work with us on the EECBG and the opportunity for us to save our tax payers money by us utilizing the grant monies.”

What this means to the average taxpayer is significant savings to County coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the County about 235,747 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $28,290 a year.

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

Another big deal is that the entire project isn’t costing the County a dime. The money that makes the project possible comes 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.

Kings County 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.