San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has announced that the city will invest $19.2 million from the state government to make the city by the bay more energy efficient, creating up to 22 new jobs and generating $3 million in energy savings every year going forward.
About $11.5 million of the stimulus funds will be distributed via San Francisco’s Energy Watch program — a project working on the installation of more efficient lighting and HVAC systems. The money will be used to subsidize new equipment purchases for small to mid-size businesses, allowing them to upgrade their assets without taking out loans. The remaining $7.7 million will be used to modernize and retrofit municipal buildings like jails, hospitals and museums.
This isn’t the first time San Francisco has made a major push for energy efficiency. Already, more than 2,000 businesses and residential buildings have been updated with greener appliances and structural changes. Since 2001, conservation initiatives have reduced the city’s energy consumption by 29 megawatts — enough to power 29,000 households. The Newsom administration is expecting further savings of 6 megawatts after the state money is put to use.
The Energy Watch program, funded by the Public Goods Charge, a monthly fee business owners pay to the California Public Utilities Commission, is partnering with JobsNow, a San Francisco initiative to employ people who lost their jobs during the recent economic downturn. It has already successfully placed 1,700 people into new jobs.