$19 Million Funding for Energy Efficiency in SF

$19 Million Funding for Energy Efficiency in SF

(February 3, 2010)

Today, Mayor Newsom announced $19.2 million in funding for energy efficiency programs through the San Francisco Energy Watch program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Newsom also highlighted the creation of new local jobs through the programs and outlined the total energy and financial savings from the City's energy efficiency work on city buildings during the last 6 years.

"San Francisco's energy-efficiency programs demonstrate how protecting the environment creates jobs and helps businesses and property owners save money" said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "To dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we have to be responsible stewards of our buildings and facilities. That's why we are leveraging all these funds to create green jobs and further our environmental goals."

Of the $19.2 million, $11.5 million is new funding for the Energy Watch program for free on-site assessments of energy savings and the installation of energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration, heating, air conditioning, and food service equipment at greatly reduced costs. In its initial phase, the program has already delivered over 2,000 energy efficiency retrofits to mid and small-sized businesses in San Francisco, as well as multi-family housing. The Energy Watch program also supports 35 Bay Area businesses, and sustains over 175 green jobs in the energy efficiency field. The program is funded through the Public Goods Charge (a fee charged monthly by the CPUC for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects), which is administered locally by PG&E.

Additionally, the City was awarded $7.7 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for energy efficiency programs that conserve energy in municipal buildings, including health centers, county jail buildings, and cultural centers. $3.1 million of these funds will be used to conduct energy efficiency upgrades to an array of facilities in the City that include the Ella Hill Hutch Center and Southeast Health Center.

These efforts, demonstrated by the energy efficiency retrofits at Davies Symphony Hall, will generate nearly $3 million in energy savings each year and will sustain employment for an additional 22 energy efficiency workers.

The recent expansion of the city's energy efficiency programs have been aided by JobsNow employees that have been trained to introduce the Energy Watch program to San Francisco businesses. JobsNow is a stimulus-funded jobs program created by the City to put unemployed citizens to work. The program has already put nearly 1,700 San Franciscans back to work.

"We go to local businesses and tell them how they can save money by working with our program, installing new light bulbs and the like," said Lee Williams of the JobsNow program. "Our team has learned so much by working with this program. We are all so happy to have this job. But to have a job where we also learn so much and do something we can feel good about, now that's exciting."

SF Environment's combined energy efficiency programs dating back to 2001 have reduced the city's overall energy use by 29 megawatts. The city expects to gain an additional 6 megawatts savings from these initiatives--totaling 35 megawatts--enough to power over 30,000 San Francisco residences.