ARRA

Gustine goes green with energy efficiency

The City of Gustine can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Or, in this case, in the street.

A total of 53 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

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 23,962 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $3,047 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 City 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.

Gustine 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.

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.

Oakdale goes green with new tech and lighting

The City of Oakdale will be saving thousands of dollars each year through new energy efficient street lights and by adding new technology to its water wells.

A total of 184 brand new street lights with induction-style bulbs have been installed, casting a brighter glow on city streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

The City also has installed variable frequency drive, or VFD, units at three of its water wells, enabling significant savings by controlling energy to the pumps and thus regulating their speed and consumption of power. A VFD allows for smoother operation, acceleration control and different operating speeds for various operations.

“This project will help us, as a City, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower our electricity bills, and turn back on some of the street lights that have been dark for years now,” said Anthony Smith, Oakdale Administrative Analyst. “In addition, the new variable frequency drives will allow us to lower energy consumption and better respond to changes in demand in the water system.”

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 204,159 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $25,000 a year and a greenhouse gas reduction about the same as taking 29 cars off the road.

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

The money that makes the majority of 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.

Oakdale 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.

San Joaquin finds savings in energy efficiency

The City of San Joaquin has brightened up its buildings and streets while saving money through a reduction in energy consumption.

A total of 35 brand new light emitting diode (LED) street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced.

Other related projects include programmable thermostats and occupancy sensors; together with the new street lights, the City can expect to reduce their energy consumption by 14,910 kilowatt hours producing an estimated savings of $1,790 per year.

Mayor Amarpreet Dhaliwal says this project is a big deal for the City as it isn’t costing the City a dime and it is leading the way in efforts to reduce energy consumption which is keeping with the goals of the City’s Local Government Partnership, a joint project with PG&E, whose purpose is to educate residents and businesses on energy conservation in order to generate reductions in energy consumption.

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.

San Joaquin 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.

Firebaugh finds green beyond its verdant fields

The City of Firebaugh is now home to a total of 81 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights, and they’re casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced.

The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

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 26,516 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $3,372 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 City 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.

The project is one of several the City is pursuing to improve its future. The west-side Fresno County community of 7,000 hasn't let size get in its way of its ambitions, attracting solar and biofuel interests and pursuing sustainability.

Firebaugh's long-term strategy is to lower its greenhouse gas footprint and improve its quality of life. The City is working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Sustainable Communities Initiative. The goal of the program is to provide equitable development, planning and development approaches for achieving shared prosperity.

The City also launched an effort to better connect with the free-flowing San Joaquin River. The community began as a ferry crossing when most traffic into the Valley traveled via a much more robust waterway.

For the street light project, Firebaugh 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.

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.

Riverbank develops energy efficiency, can jobs be far behind?


The City of Riverbank has delivered bright economical lights to one of the city’s largest buildings and biggest potential job creators.

A total of 138 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, lights have been installed in the Riverbank Army Ammunition Plant, casting a brighter glow on the building’s cavernous interior than the old metal halide fixtures they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City and business tenants much needed cash on their utility bills.

“Thanks to this innovative financing opportunity, the City was able to provide real, bottom line, measurable savings to conscientious businesses at the Army Plant through the installation of energy efficient lighting that reduces their utility bills,” said Jill Anderson, Riverbank City Manager.

What this is significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits when complete will save the City about 107,890 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $12,947 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 City 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.

The City is using the 700,000-square-foot former munitions production buildings for economic development and as a kind of business incubator, attracting tenants that need inexpensive space to develop businesses with serious job-creating potential.

Riverbank 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.

Dos Palos saves money with energy efficiency

The City of Dos Palos is greeting the spring a little greener than usual.

A total of 11 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow on city streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. City buildings also are scheduled to receive a lighting face-lift. The new lights are significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

Energy efficiency measures continued with replacement of air conditioning units, putting in place modern systems that use much less electricity.

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 25,275 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $3,030 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 City 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.

Dos Palos 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.

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.

Photo: Joshua Orizaga

Chowchilla installs new ‘green’ street lights

The City of Chowchilla has shined a new light on its streets.

A total of 159 brand new light emitting diode, or LED, street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

“The City is happy that we’re saving money by being more efficient and green,” says City Administrator Mark Lewis. “This grant offered us the opportunity to provide better lighting for our residents and save money at the same time, all at no cost to the City.”

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 108,258 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $8,171 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 City 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.

Chowchilla 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.

The City worked with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which installed the lights through its LED street light retrofit program.

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.

Energy efficiency changes light up Kerman





Kerman streets have a new hue.

A total of 617 new light emitting diode, or LED, streetlights have been installed by Pacific Gas and Electric Co, casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

Public Works Director Ken Moore said the project was accomplished through a variety of programs that included grants and on-bill financing. “We are very happy with the quality of improved lighting this project provided and the help we received in getting it funded,” he said. “The project was very successful and is beneficial to the citizens of Kerman.”

This means significant savings to City coffers through lower utility bills. The energy efficiency retrofits are saving the City about 204,200 kilowatt hours of energy and shaving roughly $26,000 from its annual power bill. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is roughly equivalent to removing 27 vehicles from the road.

Those are big deal these days.

An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant paid for 143 of the lights 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.

Kerman 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.

For more information, contact Public Works Director Ken Moore at 559-846-9388, or kmoore@cityofkerman.org.

Photo: City of Kerman fair display courtesy of City of Kerman

Parlier brings energy efficiency to the streets

The City of Parlier has given its residents brighter streets and intersections.

A total of 158 brand new street lights have been installed, casting a brighter glow on City streets than the old high-pressure sodium bulbs they replaced. The new lights are also significantly more energy efficient, saving the City much needed cash on its utility bills.

“These days the City needs all the help it can get to meet its budget requirements,” says Jim Doughty, Parlier, Grants Programs and Projects Director: “We have tightened our belt, and adding changes like these helps. The other good thing about this is we are conserving more than half the energy we were using before, and that is a good feeling.”

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 86,268 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $10,350 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 City 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.

Parlier 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.

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.

Madera County scores big energy savings with efficiency lighting project

After most of Madera County’s staff quit for the day, crews of electricians went to work the past couple of weeks upgrading the existing lighting in many county buildings.

However, the measures don’t look like much until the casual observer knows what to look for.

Thousands of old inch-diameter fluorescents have been replaced with skinner bulbs – called T8s in light lingo. These new bulbs are 5/8-inch in diameter and use significantly less power while providing the same amount of light. In some cases, new-fangled fixtures with light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have replaced existing lighting.

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 535,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. This roughly equates to a savings of about $64,000 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 making 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.

Madera 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.

The County is in the process of retrofitting florescent lights in its Main Jail, Main Library, Juvenile Services Administration Building, Oakhurst Library, Oakhurst Wastewater Treatment Facility and Government Center Parking Structure. The total conversion will replace 4,648 light tubes with new low-wattage/high-output florescent fixtures in the effort to reduce energy use and cost.

Beginning this week, the Government Center Parking Garage will receive new LED light fixtures to replace the center access lane florescent lights, area flood lights and light poles.

In addition, in cooperation with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the County is installing new LED street lights at its Juvenile Hall Facility parking lots and 82 street lights in the unincorporated communities of Parkswood and Parksdale.

The County maintains the importance of as little disruption to daily business operations as possible. To minimize the inconvenience to the public and staff that would surely result from closure or limited access to public access facilities, the County opted to do the installations in the evenings.

Job-order contracting may be what's for dinner

Job-order contracting was developed to give governments a simpler option to bidding out every routine repair, replacement and maintenance job.

The concept offers up a single contractor to provide services over a period of time. Costs on future jobs would be kept low because they're based on bid prices for similar work, almost like industry-accepted parameters an auto mechanic uses to charge for labor. If his book says seven hours to swap a transmission or truck bed, that's what he or she uses.

Same thing with the job-order contractor. And in this case, the argument goes, the JOC would be able to keep costs low on even small jobs because the larger scope of the job over time.

Job-order contracting was designed in the 1980s by the military "as a way to overcome problems with the traditional design bid build method," according to a fact sheet by Arizona State University and the Alliance for Construction Excellence.

Interesting. At least it appears so. California Courts has approved about a dozen JOC companies for services in the statewide court system, and other organizations across the state are doing the same. The California Court services were bid, as is the acceptable practice.

I'm working on a similar proposal for work at 26 jurisdictions. But mine is a little different. This is for one-time work, energy efficiency retrofits, and it's relatively small potatoes as these things go. In addition, my nonprofit, the San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization, is offering companies only the opportunity to be recommended to cities.

The jurisdictions I represent have money through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program for replacing lights, pump motors and air conditioning units. This money comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as federal stimulus.

But the money's not very stimulating until it can be spent. We've worked nearly a year on administrative duties meeting myriad government regulations specific to our unusual circumstances and are just now getting ready to start work. Most of the cities and counties in our partnership would like to have had this work completed already.

And time is running out. We are able to use this method of contracting because of that time crunch since it is advertised to speed things up. ARRA funds must be spent in the next 12 months or be lost.

It is up to each or our individual jurisdictions whether to use the job-order contracting option. Otherwise we bid out the work through conventional means. That's a time-consuming process and likely will be tough on small cities not expecting to have to go through the process.

I just gave an update to a city I'm working with, saying: "Every city will have to bid out the work. However, I'm trying my best to come with an alternative that has to do with job-order contracting and indefinite quantity construction contracts. It's a fancy way of saying a jurisdiction chooses to go with a pre-selected contractor using a 'price book' of already low bid pricing. We're bidding out the opportunity for the SJVCEO to recommend a company or process for this, and I'll keep you posted."

I'm no expert. I like to use the disclaimer that I spent 23 years working for newspapers, researching topics that were published daily. I've dug into this topic with my usual zeal and spoken with multiple people across the country. What I've discovered sounds like a promising prospect for time-strapped governments.

We'll see how it goes.