For Immediate Release: December 21, 2011
Media Contact: Percy Della - 916-654-4989


Needles and Big Bear Lake Flourish with LED Lighting Movement

The LED lighting revolution is on display in the San Bernardino County cities of Needles and Big Bear Lake, courtesy of block grants from federal stimulus funds.

"These communities are making every dollar count and stretching it as far as it can go," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller. "State-of-the-art lighting like LEDs are helping in their cost-saving ways while providing more reliable, safer lighting."

Big Bear Lake has switched 57 fluorescent lamps to LED (light emitting diode) fixtures at the Civic Center parking lot and at the Indian, Aldren and Boulder Bay parking lots.

The city has also replaced 263 light bulbs with a variety of fluorescent lamps that glow brighter but use less electricity, and installed 35 occupancy sensors that turn lights off when Civic Center offices are not in use..

Big Bear Lake's energy upgrade, completed earlier this year was made possible by a $34,836 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The federal block grants, administered by the Energy Commission, are meant to assist small cities and counties achieve their energy efficiency goals.

With the improvements, the city will be able to save 31,168 kWh, or $3,704 in electricity costs and cut emissions by 21,505 pounds of CO2 every year.

The ARRA project was "an opportunity to show we are committed to make the environment a high priority," said Big Bear Lake Mayor Bill Jahn."Our community is one of the most beautiful places in California and we must be dedicated environmental stewards."

For its part, the City of Needles replaced 30 high-pressure sodium vapor lamps with LEDs known for daylight-like brightness in several streets citywide.

The simple retrofit, also made possible by an ARRA block grant of $30,048 from the U.S. DOE, will save Needles 15,768 kWh or $1,892 in energy bills and cut CO2 emissions by 10,880 lbs. every year.

Needles City Manager David G. Brownlee said the ARRA block grant was a welcome gift. "We are indeed grateful for the opportunity accorded Needles through this program," he said.

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Federal stimulus funds to small cities and counties awarded under the ARRA's Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) and administered by the Energy Commission are providing more than $33 million to 201 eligible localities throughout California. Large cities and counties are receiving funding directly from the US DOE. For more information about ARRA funded programs, click on:

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.