SAN FRANCISCO - Mayor Gavin Newsom has announced $19.2 million in funding for the city of San Francisco for energy efficiency projects through the San Francisco Energy Watch program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Of the $19.2 million, $11.5 million is new funding for the Energy Watch program for free on-site assessments of energy savings and the installation of energy-efficient air conditioning, heating, refrigeration, lighting, and food service equipment at greatly reduced costs. In its initial phase, the program has already delivered over 2,000 energy efficiency retrofits to mid and small-sized businesses in San Francisco, as well as multi-family housing. The Energy Watch program also supports 35 Bay Area businesses, and sustains over 175 green jobs in the energy efficiency field. The program is funded through a Public Goods Charge (a fee charged monthly by the California Public Utilities Commission for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects), which is administered locally by PG&E.

Additionally, the city was awarded $7.7 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for energy efficiency programs that conserve energy in municipal buildings, including health centers, county jail buildings, and cultural centers. Approximately $3.1 million of these funds will be used to conduct energy efficiency upgrades to an array of facilities in the city that include the Ella Hill Hutch Center and Southeast Health Center.

According to the city, these efforts, as demonstrated by the energy efficiency retrofits at Davies Symphony Hall, will generate nearly $3 million in energy savings each year and will sustain employment for an additional 22 energy efficiency workers.

The city also noted that the expansion of its energy efficiency programs has been aided by JobsNow employees that have been trained to introduce the Energy Watch program to San Francisco businesses. JobsNow is a stimulus-funded jobs program created by the city to put unemployed citizens to work. The program is said to have already put nearly 1,700 San Franciscans back to work.

Publication date:02/15/2010