Tahoe’s Granlibakken gains national recognition for energy conservation | SierraSun.com

Tahoe’s Granlibakken gains national recognition for energy conservation

Staff report
Granlibakken Tahoe in Tahoe City recently served as showcase project for Placer County in a national effort to cut energy waste.
Courtesy Erik Bergen / Placer County Media |

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — As part of the Obama administration’s efforts to reduce energy waste in the nation’s buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy recently recognized Placer County for its strides in energy efficiency.

Last week, federal and local officials gathered in Tahoe City to tour Granlibakken Tahoe, the county’s showcase project for the Better Buildings Challenge, which aims to make various buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade.

“All over the United States, cities and counties like Placer County are overcoming unique energy efficiency challenges by deploying comprehensive and flexible solutions,” Maria Vargas, director of the Better Buildings Challenge, said in a statement. “Placer County’s Granlibakken is a great example of energy efficiency at work in our nation’s buildings — innovative financing, public-private partnerships and high-tech solutions.”

Granlibakken is expecting a 43 percent reduction in energy use by replacing obsolete refrigerators, dishwashers and range hood exhaust systems with energy efficient models in its kitchen.

In addition, newly automated heating and air conditioning systems also were installed to increase the efficiency of the facility’s natural gas boilers.

These renovations could translate up to $44,000 in energy savings annually for the 14,680-square-foot conference center and lodge.

In 2010, the building’s energy cost was $105,000, which is anticipated to be reduced to $61,000 in 2015.

This effort was financed by mPower Placer, which uses a property assessed clean energy financing model, with no upfront costs to property owners in the county, which includes portions of Lake Tahoe.

The Granlibakken retrofit served as the county’s initial mPOWER project, costing $676,000, according to the Better Buildings Challenge.

“Through mPOWER, Placer County helps local businesses make energy improvements that increase profit margins while taking a positive step for the environment,” Jenine Windeshausen, Placer County treasurer tax collector and mPOWER program administrator, said in a statement. “The mPOWER program helps Placer County create jobs by providing financing for businesses and residents to make energy efficiency, renewable generation and water conservation improvements.”

As a Better Buildings Challenge partner, Placer County has committed to 20 percent energy savings over 10 years across five million square feet of building space.

More than 250 organizations are partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy in the challenge and sharing successful strategies that maximize efficiency.

Across the country, partners are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 4,500 properties and 10 percent or more at 12,000 properties.

Visit betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov to learn more.