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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sustainability Effort Brings Savings to Santee

Thursday, September 20, 2012

An in-house sustainability project launched three years ago by the city of Santee has saved taxpayers an estimated $200,000 annually by increasing energy efficiency and implementing other sustainable business practices.
“We view sustainability as a way to invest in improvements that will have long term benefits for Santee taxpayers and the environment through reduced energy and water use” said Kathy Valverde, who manages the project.

Using grant monies, the city was able to replace 1,783 street lights with energy efficient light fixtures and cut energy costs by 30 percent, resulting in savings of $110,000 and 900,000 kilowatt-hours each year.  In addition to annual savings, San Diego Gas & Electric awarded the City almost $73,000 in energy efficiency rebates for installing the new lights.

Moving from outdoors to indoors, the city upgraded 1,600 office lights with more energy efficient ones and installed motion-sensor devices to further reduce power usage when offices are unoccupied. The result was energy savings of 97,000 kilowatt hours per year at a cost savings of 25 percent or $19,000 annually. The project was fully funded by grants and rebates.

Additional savings were achieved last summer by switching to more economical utility rates available from SDG&E for outdoor lighting at several parks, playing fields and tennis courts. The lower power rates are expected to save the city 50 percent, or more than $60,000 annually.  The city anticipates saving another $10,000 to $30,000 this year as a result of switching to the lower rate for outdoor lighting at Town Center Community Park.
The road to sustainability doesn’t stop with increased energy efficiency.

Santee is currently exploring the use of recycled water for street sweeping to conserve more costly potable water. If the proposal is approved by state regulators, Santee will be one of the first cities in the region to implement such a program. The city also installed power-generating solar panels to provide electricity at the Sportsplex USA restaurant at Town Center Community Park.
Valverde said the city is currently looking at additional opportunities to conserve energy through lighting upgrades. She’s also working on programs to help residents and businesses cut costs through sustainability and energy efficiency.  Check the city’s website at www.ci.santee.ca.us and click on the sustainability project logo to learn more.

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