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Showing off the check from PG&E are, from left, Bob Dunn, Patrick Testoni, and Ilse Kolbus of UCSC, and Don Amuzie and Phil Furniss of PG&E. Photo: Donna Barry

December 6, 2004

Energy efficiency initiative nets UCSC a $67,000 check from the power company

By Donna Barry

With cooler weather sweeping the state, most of us can only dream of getting a check from the power company. But UCSC has done just that--and more checks are on the way.

UCSC is the first UC or CSU campus to receive a grant payment from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) for implementing energy-efficiency programs.

Senior Program Manager Don Amuzie traveled from the company’s San Francisco offices on November 30 to present a $67,000 check to Physical Plant Director Ilse Kolbus. The payment represents the first of several that will be made to UCSC as part of a California Public Utilities Commission Grant awarded to UC/CSU for energy conservation projects coordinated through the University of California Office of the President.

The grant reimburses campuses for implementing approved energy-efficiency projects.

In December 2003, Physical Plant’s Energy Manager Bob Dunn received word from the UC Office of the President that the utilities commission had awarded the University of California and California State University campuses a $12 million grant to implement energy-efficiency programs. Physical Plant formally applied for grant funds, and Dunn and energy assistant Patrick Testoni began working on calculating savings estimates based on improvements to various campus systems. Working within an approved scope of work, they estimated energy savings to UCSC based on Physical Plant’s ability to:

• Upgrade lighting systems and add variable speed drives to heating/cooling pumps in the science buildings.

• Meter and tune up operation of the heating/cooling systems at Earth & Marine Sciences and the central cooling water system.

• Provide training for operations and maintenance staff to be able to fine-tune other buildings in the future without outside assistance.

Approved efficiency projects will save the UCSC campus 480,000 kilowatts per year (worth about $50,000) and 6,300 therms per year (worth about $4,000).

The UC and CSU programs, collectively, will remove more than 2.5 megawatts of peak electric demand and 15 million kilowatts per year from California's congested electrical grid. The programs will also conserve natural gas use by almost 700,000 therms per year.

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