Growing Greener Outdoors – City Launches New Project to Save Energy, Water and Taxpayer Dollars
Building upon decades of success in implementing energy and water conservation actions among its facilities, the City of Cupertino recently initiated a new program focused on dramatically reducing utility bills connected with its outdoor operations. Cupertino’s Resource Conservation Program, approved by Council on April 20th, will retrofit all city-owned streetlights and irrigation controllers with state-of-the-art technologies that significantly reduce energy and water consumption. Leveraging American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds, the City designed the program to pay for itself directly through utility savings generated by the project. The program, outlined in further detail below, commenced on Monday November 29th with a Press Conference and Streetlight Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony hosted by Mayor Kris Wang.
Efficiently Lighting Your Streets
The most visible improvement made by The City of Cupertino’s Resource Conservation Program is the retrofit of energy efficient streetlights. Street light upgrades are designed to improve the safety, efficiency and aesthetics of lighting throughout our community. When completed in February of 2011, all current 2,950 High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) streetlights owned by the City will be retrofit with energy-efficient induction lamps. When the new retrofitted streetlamps have been installed, the city’s single largest utility bill will be reduced by 40%. The project’s associated CO2 carbon emissions will be reduced by 882,570 pounds per year, equivalent to planting 2675 large trees or removing 80 cars from the road! Furthermore, to minimize the waste stream associated with the project, the City elected to retrofit existing lamps, lenses and ballasts instead of replacing the complete fixture.
Existing fixtures use high-pressure sodium lamps that cast an orange glow, but the new induction fluorescent lamps cast a bright white light. Induction lights will use less energy and last longer (an average of 15-20 years) than the present high pressure orange-yellow sodium light (an average 3-5 years), enabling the City to save on maintenance costs. The retrofitted lights coming to a street near you also include a clear lens and refractor directed downward to minimize light pollution. The streetlight components were selected through an energy efficient streetlight technology assessment held on Pacifica Avenue last year to evaluate technologies that reduce energy consumption and evaluate opportunities to extend the maintenance period without reducing lighting levels.
Smart Irrigation Saves Water
A less visible upgrade to the City’s outdoor infrastructure, but no less important, is the installation of state-of-the-art irrigation controllers among parks and grounds maintained by the Cupertino. The new “weather track” technology bases irrigation schedules on the site’s specific plant species, soil makeup and moisture content, alongside current weather conditions. Once installed, the new irrigation will save over $100,000 dollars and over 3 million. gallons of water each year. Over the life of the project, approximately 35 million gallons of water will be conserved, enough to cover the entire city of Cupertino with nearly two and a half inches of water! This year alone, the Public Utilities Commission has authorized a 17% rate increase for water approved by the state Public Utilities Commission for 2011, suggesting that water conservation is not just an environmental priority, but a financial obligation, for the City.
If you have additional questions, please connect with us through Access Cupertino , or call us at 408.777.CITY(2489). Want to implement projects that conserve energy and water in your own home, business or school? Cupertino can help! Learn how by visiting Cupertino Green.