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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Neal DeSnoo, Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, (510) 981-7439


Berkeley, California (Tuesday, October 04, 2011) - As a recipient of the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, the City of Berkeley has awarded eleven local businesses and multifamily housing properties nearly $270,000 in incentives for high-quality energy upgrades. 

The intent of the awards is to leverage investments by local businesses and multifamily properties in energy savings to help Berkeley meet its Climate Action Plan goals of a 33% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020, and stimulate the local green economy. The businesses and property owners are matching the incentives with an additional $300,000, for a combined total of $570,000 in energy efficiency investments, with an expected annual savings of $50,000 per year. Total projected annual energy savings for these projects is approximately 1,000 megawatt-hours of energy, 90% of which comes from natural gas.  Natural gas reductions are particularly important to the environment as there is currently no available renewable energy source to replace natural gas.

Incentive recipients include seven multifamily properties and four local businesses.  The multifamily properties were awarded a total of nearly $155,000 in Federal stimulus dollars for energy improvements and include two student cooperatives, several local apartment buildings, and a fraternity.  The upgrades include increased wall and attic insulation, building envelope improvements to reduce drafts, and new high-efficiency boilers and water heaters.  The improvements will make tenants more comfortable year-round, while reducing energy bills and improving indoor air quality.

A number of prominent local businesses and social service providers also received awards, including $30,000 each to the Bancroft Hotel, the Berkeley Food and Housing Project and local micro brewery Trumer Braurei. The Bancroft Hotel is installing a solar thermal space heating system, and the Berkeley Food and Housing Project will reduce water heating expenses with a solar thermal domestic hot water system that provides water to the shelter’s showers and laundry.

Local micro brewery Trumer Brauerei is installing a cutting edge ozone technology to naturally purify water and thereby eliminating the need for thousands of gallons of hot water. The project is estimated to save 15,000 therms of natural gas and more than 41,000 kilowatts of electricity that would have been used to pump the water.

Each of the applicants was required to obtain a comprehensive energy audit of the facility to determine all opportunities for energy efficiency. Projects were selected based on the ability to match the award funding and maximize energy savings. The average project is saving 29% of existing energy use, with some projects yielding as much as 45% savings. Projects will be monitored for their energy use for three years, to ensure energy savings.


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