Optimizing Energy Use at Pet Boarding Facility
Mark Klaiman, owner of Pet Camp, a full-service pet boarding facility in San Francisco’s Bayview district, had thought about installing solar for years. “What really pushed me over the edge was the summer of the rolling blackouts.” He wasn’t complaining about losing power—Pet Camp is part of a voluntary demand-response program to power-down electricity usage during hot summer days. He was upset that Washington politicians used California blackouts as an excuse to drill for oil in Alaska. He believed we had ample renewable supplies of energy right here at home. “I’m going to prove them wrong.”
After consulting with San Francisco Community Power about ways to save energy and money, Pet Camp upgraded to efficient lighting, powered equipment with 220 volts rather than 120 volts, and replaced over a dozen box fans with two highvolume, low-speed fans. Pet Camp also has an award-winning recycling program and is part of a pilot project with Recology Sunset Scavenger and the City to compost animal waste. Methane emissions captured from the animal waste are used at the City’s water treatment facility to generate electricity.
After improving energy efficiency, Klaiman worked with Prevalent Power, now EI Solutions, to install a 33 kW solar electric system. “It was probably the easiest construction job we’ve ever done here.” For the three plus years since it was installed, Pet Camp’s solar system has covered about 40% of its electricity use and 55% of its electricity expenses, with a six to seven-year expected payback. To make use of solar tax credits to lower costs, Pet Camp leases the solar system from a holding company, which claims the tax credits. After five years, Pet Camp will buy the solar system from the holding company at a predetermined price.
With energy efficiency improvements and a solar system, Pet Camp’s electricity bills are down from about $25,000 to $9,000 per year. With these and other resource-efficient initiatives, Pet Camp is now a recognized San Francisco Green Business that saves money while improving the environment.