ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN THE COMMUNITY

An update from the SNEW Team on our recent work

Katey Ford

Katey Ford

Climate and Energy Planning Technician

The Sierra Nevada Energy Watch (SNEW) team works closely with local governments, school districts, public agencies, and small businesses, helping them achieve their energy goals wherever they are on their path to sustainability. We have recently wrapped up 4 energy efficiency projects throughout Placer, Sierra, El Dorado, and Nevada counties!

SNEW worked with El Dorado County Transit Authority (EDCTA) in a 7 month period to start and complete a turnkey lighting upgrade. EDCTA was not only interested in pursuing energy efficiency retrofits, they were also interested in a benchmarking report to track their facility energy use. SNEW lined EDCTA up with the  Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) Third-Party Implementer, Willdan, to perform an energy audit assessment and conduct a lighting retrofit. High bay, interior, and exterior lighting fixtures were installed at their facilities that will ultimately save EDCTA $233,761 over the lifetime of the project.

Inforgraphic that showcases SNEW's Lighting Retrofit for the El Dorado County Transit Authority

Nevada City Parks & Recreation recently installed 2 Heat Pump Water Heater (HPWH) to replace the 2 dated gas water heaters at the Community Pool. The project began in April 2022 when SNEW worked with Willdan to enrolled clients in their no-to-low cost incentivized HPWH program. 

Nevada City’s main concerns were geared around the HPWH warranty, project timeline, and suitability for HPWH to be used for pool settings. Willdan was able to communicate through these worries effectively so that the customer felt informed and empowered to move forward. From inception to installation, the Nevada City Community Swimming Pool project took 3 months to complete and is slated to see the savings in their next billing cycle!

In Placer County, the SNEW program managed lighting retrofits for Sierra Lakes County Water District (SLCWD). SNEW connected SLCWD with the PG&E trade professional American Energy Partners to audit and retrofit their facilities. The SLCWD project is utilizing On-Bill Financing so the customer does not incur any upfront costs. The energy cost savings from the energy efficiency lighting installation will be deducted from their monthly bill, so the project cost will be “paid back” over the next 4.9 years.

Donner Summer view of Old Highway 40 looking down at Donner lake in the winter time, photo by Ethan Dow

SNEW is currently working with a locally-owned hardware store in Quincy called American Valley Hardware. The business owners knew they could be saving energy and money due to having over 200 fluorescent bulbs lighting their store, but they were curious to know how they could be more efficient and environmentally friendly. SNEW connected American Valley Hardware with PG&E trade professional CH Energy, who completed a free energy audit and determined that by updating their lights to LEDs, updating the insulation, adding solar films to single pane windows, and coating their HVAC coils, the hardware store could save thousands of dollars annually. American Valley Hardware is currently being approved for On-Bill Financing prior to implementation. 

Whether you are a county facility, or small-medium sized business, the SNEW program services can be tailored to your specific needs, from conducting energy use analysis and audits, helping link to resources, providing project management support, and finding funding and financing solutions. We serve utility customers within PG&E territory (including CCA’s) in Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sutter, Tuolumne, and Yuba counties. As the Sierra Nevada region faces unstable times with wildfire, energy resilience and security, the SNEW team is here to help the region adapt and be best prepared to face these challenges.

If you are interested in SNEW services and operate within our territory, we would love to hear from you! Please reach out at: SNEW@sierrabusiness.org

The Sierra Nevada Energy Watch (SNEW) energy efficiency program is funded by California utility customers and administered through PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The SNEW program is implemented and managed by Sierra Business Council and their authorized representatives.

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