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City Energy Accomplishments


  • The Rebuild a Greener San Diego program funded technical support and financial incentives to fire victims who rebuilt highly energy efficient homes after the loss of their home in the October 2003 Cedar Fire. The program provided incentive funding to 203 residents and concluded in December 2006.

  • Three new solar panel systems were commissioned in May, 2006. North Clairemont Library received a 22.8 Kilowatt (kW) system, Oak Park Library a 20.3 kW system, and Canyonside Recreation Center a 29 kW system. Together, they will generate as much as 8,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in a month. The solar systems will generate about one-third of the libraries' annual power requirements and 10% of the Canyonside Recreation Center's electrical requirements. The taxpayers will enjoy reduced energy bills of about $15,000 a year.

  • The Metropolitan Wastewater and Water Departments are participating in an SDG&E-sponsored program utilizing back-up generators to produce electricity during periods of energy shortages in the region. In exchange, SDG&E's vendor will upgrade and permit the generators to meet new air pollution regulations and take over the regular maintenance of the generators. Participation in this program has the potential to save the departments, and taxpayers, $2.5 million over ten years in maintenance costs, while providing additional electricity to San Diegans during times of high energy demand.

  • San Ysidro's Fire Station 29, a 9,800 square foot facility, opened in July 2006 doubling the size of the old station built in 1963. FS 29 is significant because it is the first City facility to implement Council's Sustainable Building Policy (900-14). FS 29 uses 29% less energy than fire stations of comparable size, using only $0.09 per square foot for electricity as compared to $0.11 - $0.15 for other stations. FS 29 was designed with a building shell that allows less heat transfer through exterior walls, incorporates recycled content in its building materials, has an efficient air conditioning system, and a 7 Megawatt solar power system on the rooftop. It is 28% more efficient than Title 24 requirements.

  • The City of San Diego has negotiated a five year, 5 Megawatt, power purchase agreement. It is the first of its kind for the City. The first project is a photovoltaic system at the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant. A private firm will install, own and operate a solar panel system along Kiowa Drive. All the power generated by the solar panels will be purchased by the Water Department at a negotiated cost. The system is very large and is anticipated to produce 928 of kilowatt hours of power each year. This represents 20% of the power used in the water filtration plant operation, training facility, pump stations, and laboratory on the site. And, all of the energy is "green" meaning that no air pollution is generated as a byproduct of producing the electricity. Benefits to the City include having "known" energy costs for the solar generated power for the next twenty years. The solar electricity prices are anticipated to be below the retail level of electricity provided by San Diego Gas and Electric, and are anticipated to save the Water Department $710,000 over the next 20 years. In addition, the City does not need to front the capital costs to install the system. In this case, it represents a $6.5 million dollar savings.

  • The Casa del Prado building, and the adjacent Casa del Prado Theater, in Balboa Park are historical reconstructions built for the Panama-California Exposition of 1915-1916. In 2006, upgrades to the lighting and HVAC system were made, including the installation of a Turbocor compressor and specialized software designed to optimize system functioning. Casa del Prado is used by a variety of community groups for youth classes, events, and botanical shows. The Theater is home to a full season of theatrical productions. Prior to the energy upgrades, the Casa del Prado and the Theater consumed 850,000 kilowatt hours annually, costing taxpayers over $110,000 a year. With the energy improvements, the building is expected to consume 300,000 fewer kilowatt hours each year thus lowering energy costs by $38,500, which is 35%! The improvements have a four and a half year pay back.

  • We developed a comprehensive site energy plan with self-generation at the Alvarado Water Laboratory. ESD leveraged a California Energy Commission (CEC) loan to install energy conservation measures, while using a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to install a one-mega watt solar photovoltaic (PV) self-generation system at the treatment plant of which 430 kW provides power for the lab. The lighting and mechanical energy conservation projects save approximately 57,000 and 691,000 kWh, respectively, each year which translates to an estimated $120,000 a year savings. Due to the energy intensive tasks in a laboratory environment, such as 100% outside air ventilation, laboratory fume hoods, and highly illuminated areas for laboratory work, this energy intensive facility has been converted into a very highly efficient building based on the aggregate power consumed in energy per square foot.

  • In late 2004, ESD leveraged a 3.95% low interest loan from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to implement 84 energy efficiency projects in 70 city facilities. From May 2005 through August 2006, ESD constructed energy and conservation measures at various city facilities including park and recreation centers, police substations, and libraries, with major building energy upgrades at the Alvarado water lab and the Balboa Park Casa del Prado. The energy savings realized from reduced energy bills will pay the debt service on the CEC loan. This project will payback in less than six years. Using fiscal year 2005 as the base energy year, fiscal year 2006 showed a reduction of 878,368 kilowatt hours, saving City taxpayers an estimated $140,500. ESD anticipates the long term yearly savings of 2,400,000 kilowatt hours when the final numbers are audited.