SoCalGas completes energy efficiency projects with California University

US utility Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) in partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) have completed two major energy efficiency projects.

The two projects have helped UCSB to save 66,000 therms of energy per year and $12 million in bills. The savings equate to a reduction of 866,516 miles driven by a passenger vehicle per year.

The projects were deployed as part of the utility’s Energy Efficiency Partnership programme in which SoCalGas is helping universities to optimise their energy management.

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Multiple measures, including modernising buildings’ lighting and HVAC systems by installing occupancy sensors, wireless thermostats and low-power LED lights, were implemented.

High efficiency dedicated natural gas boilers to each building, a new chilled water system including a cooling tower, and pumps were also installed.

SoCalGas and UCSB started the two projects in 2018 through the university’s high opportunity projects and programmes (HOPP’s) initiative.

The projects will help the University of California (UC) to meet its sustainability goals set under its 2013 Carbon Neutrality Initiative which involves becomes net-zero from buildings and vehicle fleets operations by 2025.

Both the utility and the university co-funded the projects.

Brian Prusnek, director of customer programmes and assistance at SoCalGas, said: “We value our partnership with the UC and CSU university systems, and through our energy efficiency solutions, we are working together to lower utility bills and curb carbon emissions.”

Jordan Sager, energy manager at UCSB, adds: “Whole-building energy efficiency projects at UCSB have proven to be strong financial investments and have helped us create more comfortable, safer, and more controllable environments for campus end-users,”

SoCalGas has supported 184 efficiency projects for universities in California through the Energy Efficiency Partnership programme over the past five years. The projects have helped save 6 million therms of energy and $6 million in bills. The savings are equivalent to the energy used by 125,000 households a year or to the removal of 230,000 cars from the road for a year.

The utility has provided over $6,300,000 in incentives through this state programme.