Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Amador County Energy Efficiency Project Saves Money and Energy

The County of Amador is now saving energy and money thanks to energy upgrades made possible by a federal stimulus grant. The county, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, upgraded heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and retrofitted interior lighting at various county-owned facilities in the city of Jackson.

More than 600 interior lights were retrofitted at the county jail, sheriff's office, district attorney's office, and general services administration building, library, and probation office. Older, inefficient linear fluorescent lights were switched to low-wattage lighting equipment. The County of Amador also leveraged grant funding with a PG&E program administered by Sierra Business Council. The stimulus grant paid for the labor to complete the lighting retrofit, while the Sierra Business Council provided the lighting equipment at no cost to the county.

The grant also funded the installation of six new HVAC systems at the county jail and sheriff's office. The new HVAC units replace older, less efficient equipment. Also included in the HVAC project was the retrofitting of two HVAC units with economizers that can save energy by cooling the building with outside air, reducing the need for mechanical cooling. Economizers can reduce HVAC energy costs while also potentially improving indoor air quality.

The project is estimated to save Amador County 110,000 kilowatt hours and 327 therms or the equivalent of $17,000 in annual energy costs. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is estimated to be 36 tons per year.

Completed in April, the County of Amador's lighting retrofit and HVAC projects were funded by a $117,982 grant from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program of the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).

Administered by the California Energy Commission, these federal grants contributed to the energy efficiency goals of small cities and counties.

Federal stimulus funds to small cities and counties awarded under the ARRA's Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) and administered by the Energy Commission are providing more than $32 million to more than 270 eligible localities throughout California. Large cities and counties are receiving funding directly from the US Department of Energy. 

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