For Immediate Release: May 31, 2012
Media Contact: Percy D. Della - 916-654-4989


Low-Interest Loan Approved for Energy Upgrades at Sonoma Valley Hospital

SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission has approved a low-interest loan of $1.065 million for the Sonoma Valley Health Care District. The loan will fund a sizable portion of the energy efficiency work associated with the District's utility plant retrofit and new-building project at the Sonoma Valley Hospital in the City of Sonoma.

The energy upgrades will be part of a long-anticipated improvement and expansion plan that will bring the 83-bed rural facility up to state-mandated seismic standards by the summer of 2013. The new building will house a relocated Emergency Department on the ground floor and four new operating rooms on the second floor.

Approximately $611,000 of the loan will upgrade the hospital's Central Utility Plant with new boilers and chillers; convert hot and cold water systems to variable flow; seal leaky air distribution ducts; and fund more efficient sterilizers to serve the hospital's existing 108,000 square foot- facility.

The remaining $454,000 in Energy Commission funding will be spent for energy efficiency projects identified in the hospital's "Savings by Design" study for the new self-contained 26,000 sq. ft. addition. These projects include new premium efficiency space heating and cooling and pumps, a new domestic hot water system and energy-efficient lighting.

When complete, the improvements supported by the loan will enable the district to save $97,000 annually in energy costs and reduce energy use by 286,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 49,700 therms of natural gas every year. In the process, the district will decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 390 tons annually.

The energy cost savings from the projects alone will enable the district to repay the loan over an 11-year payback period.

The loan was made under the Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA). To encourage energy efficiency, the act grants energy loans at a low 3 percent interest rate for local governments, schools from K-12, special districts, and public and private care facilities.

In existence since 1979, the ECAA low-interest loan program administered by the California Energy Commission has allocated $270 million to more than 750 recipients to fund energy conservation projects.

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