Energy efficiency may not have the glamor of solar power or wind power, but it’s also a critical and immediate solution to cutting pollution.
Today, San Francisco Mayor Gavin 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.
In the announcement, Newsom highlighted the creation of new local jobs through the programs and outlined the total energy and financial savings from the San Francisco’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 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 free on-site assessments of energy savings as well as the installation of energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration, heating, air conditioning, and food service equipment at greatly reduced costs. This program, in its first phase, has already delivered over 2,000 energy efficiency retrofits to mid and small-sized businesses and multi-family housing in San Francisco.
From the $7.7 million San Francisco was awarded 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 will now be used to conduct energy efficiency upgrades to an array of facilities in the city (including the Ella Hill Hutch Center and Southeast Health Center). These upgrades will result in nearly $3 million dollars in savings each year.
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 MW. The city expects to gain an additional 6 MW savings from these initiatives—totaling 35 MW — enough to power over 30,000 San Francisco residences.
More great news from the great city of San Francisco!
Find out more about home energy audits in San Francisco at SFEnergyAudit.org.
Image Credit: Mike G.K. via flickr under a CC license
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