For Immediate Release: August 24, 2012
Media Contact: Kelly M. Kell - 916-654-4989


Desert Community Leads Energy Savings with Efficient Lighting

New lighting upgrades are helping the high desert town of Yucca Valley to cut energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint.

The San Bernardino County city installed new energy efficient lights at the Community Development Building, Community Center, Town Hall, Museum, and Senior Center.

More than 1,000 lamps and 400 electronic ballasts were replaced with energy efficient models. Interior T8 florescent lamps, which are 40 percent more efficient than the previous lamps, were used in the retrofit. Illuminated Exit signs were also upgraded to light emitting diode (LED) technology and occupancy sensors were installed to switch off lights when offices are not in use.

In addition to new lighting, the city library received a new, energy efficient heating ventilation and air conditioning unit to keep patrons cool in the desert heat, while cutting energy consumption.

Completed in April, the project was paid for by a $95,918 grant from the Energy Efficient Conservation Block program of the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Administered by the California Energy Commission, the federal grants are contributing to the energy efficiency goals of small cities and counties.

The retrofit project is expected to save the city 67,000 kilowatt hours or $5,000 in energy costs yearly and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 23 tons annually. These calculations do not include energy savings from the HVAC system.

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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 to eligible localities throughout California. Large cities and counties are receiving funding directly from the US DOE.

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