Federal Funds Brings Energy Savings to El Dorado County
The County of El Dorado, home to California's historic Gold Country and El Dorado National Forest, can now add energy efficiency to its acclaim.
Thanks to $729,734 in federal stimulus funds, more than 2,500 interior building lights were upgraded with lower wattage fluorescent lamps in four buildings located at the County Government Center in Placerville, and at three of the County's facilities in South Lake Tahoe. In addition, 77 parking lights and 165 High Pressure Sodium (HPS) traffic signal safety lights were retrofitted to Light-Emitting Diode (LED) fixtures. The lighting upgrades consume less energy and require less maintenance compared to older lighting technologies.
The county also replaced 15 older motors for waste water pumps at the Union Mine Waste Water Treatment Facility with energy efficient models and installed five new variable frequency drives (VFD). The new technology electronically controls and regulates the amount of power the wastewater pumps use.
The City of Placerville, located in El Dorado County, received a separate grant of $55,226 to retrofit streetlights and parking lot lights to energy saving LEDs. Interior lights at the public safety buildings, town hall, and city hall were switched to 28 watt florescent bulbs and energy efficient ballasts.
The grant paid for the labor required to install the interior lights while the El Dorado Energy Watch program provided the lighting equipment. The grant paid for both equipment and labor for the parking lot and streetlight retrofit.
El Dorado County and the City of Placerville are expecting to save a combined 525,090 kilowatt hours annually.
Completed in June, the El Dorado County and City of Placerville projects were paid for by grants from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program of the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Administered by the California Energy Commission, the federal grants are contributing to the energy efficiency goals of small cities and counties.