The County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday proclaimed October as Energy Awareness Month, highlighting the county’s commitment to promoting responsible and efficient energy use, and encouraging citizens to do the same.
“As residents of one of the most beautiful places in the world, it’s our duty to do all we can to preserve the resources around us,” said District 2 Supervisor Janet Wolf. “I’m proud that Santa Barbara County has made this a high priority and is making a variety of opportunities available to help our residents live sustainably.”
To celebrate Energy Awareness Month, the County’s emPower program will host two free homeowner workshops highlighting ways residents can improve the efficiency, comfort and indoor air quality of their homes, all while saving money on utility bills. The first workshop is scheduled 5:30–7 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Santa Maria Inn, Polo Room, 801 S. Broadway, Santa Maria, 93454. The second workshop will be held 5:30–7 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Santa Ynez Valley Grange, 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos, 93441.
As noted in the proclamation, Santa Barbara County has a long tradition of environmental stewardship and is utilizing numerous programs to promote responsible and efficient energy use within County government and among residents. Energy conservation can also be an important piece in improving public health by protecting indoor and outdoor air quality. Some recent County accomplishments include:
- In 2015, the County adopted its Energy and Climate Action Plan (ECAP) aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below 2007 levels by the year 2020 based on 50 emission reduction measures. To help implement the ECAP, a new County Sustainability Committee was recently formed, facilitated by the Division of Energy and Sustainability Initiatives.
- The General Services Department-led Calle Real Solar project continues to outperform expectations producing 10 percent more energy than expected. To date, the array has generated about 8,700 megawatt-hours (MWh) and avoided an estimated 5,200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
- The Public Works Department, Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division (RR&WMD), administers the Green Business Program, which provides resources to help businesses who want to be green. 1,237,876 kilowatt hours (kW/hr) of energy per year have been saved based on an analysis of 86 businesses that achieved Green Business certification as of June 2016.
- In conjunction with the cities of Buellton, Goleta, Santa Barbara and Solvang, the RR&WMD is also developing the Tajiguas Resource Recovery Project to process municipal solid waste currently disposed at the County-owned and operated Tajiguas Landfill for recycling and composting. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with this project is estimated to be equivalent to taking approximately 25,000 vehicles off local roadways.
- The County also is partnering with surrounding counties and cities to explore the possibility of offering a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program for the Central Coast. CCE gives communities greater choice to purchase their energy from green or renewable resources to help the environment while keeping rates competitive.
For more information about Energy Awareness Month, to RSVP for a workshop, tips on saving energy, or to speak with a representative of emPower, call (805) 568-3566 or visit the website at www.empowersbc.org.
About emPower Central Coast
The emPower program offers voluntary incentives, financing and other services to help single-family homeowners in Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties make home energy upgrades easier and more affordable. emPower was established by the County of Santa Barbara to help the community preserve the environment by helping to lower energy consumption and stimulate the economy by creating jobs through innovative, voluntary solutions to support a sustainable building performance market.