ADELANTO • City sprinkler systems may get a little smarter while sewer byproducts get a little more useful under Adelanto’s plans to slash its energy bills.
“We’ve started looking at the city’s facilities and identifying improvements that can be made now that would save energy and costs, and ultimately make us financially better off,” said Adelanto City Manager Jim Hart.
The city is developing plans to install energy-saving upgrades and build new equipment over the next year that could shave hundreds of thousands of dollars off energy bills in future years, Hart said.
Hart said he has been spending the past several months analyzing the city’s electric, natural gas and water use to find out how to cut costs. For most of the solutions, the city is working with Johnson Controls, a global renewable energy solutions company that has worked with the city of Victorville and several dozen other Southern California cities.
Hart said Johnson Controls would guarantee Adelanto enough savings each year to at least make the payments for the new installations, which he estimates will cost roughly $2.5 million.
Within 10 years, the energy savings should be enough to pay off the total cost, Hart said.
Plans include upgrading lighting, electricity and heating and cooling units in city buildings, as well as installing GPS systems in city park grounds that help track weather changes, such as wind and rain.
“You shouldn’t drive by a city facility on a rainy day and see the sprinklers going,” Hart said.
Hart said the city also has potential plans to build a solar power source at the city’s correctional facility and to construct a wind turbine to generate electricity.
Chuck Spiker, who works in local government solutions for Johnson Controls, said the company is developing the energy solutions contract, which he hopes to present to the City Council within the next few weeks.
Hart said if the contract is approved soon, work should begin in January and the majority of the upgrades should be completed by the end of 2009.
For at least one solution — the potential to burn byproducts from the sewer waste treatment centers to produce ethanol — the city is in discussions with several companies other than Johnson Controls, Hart said.
Hart said the city first considered the energy upgrades early this year, when he was alarmed by some of the spending figures, such as spending more than $1 million a year on electricity. Adelanto also has one of the oldest city halls in the High Desert, he said.
“It’s all about money,” said Acting Mayor Charley Glasper. “The most important thing that the city can do is come up with the most efficient way of spending taxpayers’ money.”
Natasha Lindstrom may be reached at 951-6232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.