Triple Bottom Line: Sierra Nevada Energy Watch has led to big savings | SierraSun.com

Triple Bottom Line: Sierra Nevada Energy Watch has led to big savings

Jennifer RosserSpecial to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Truckeeandamp;#8217;s Sierra Business Council is a nonprofit organization committed to pioneering innovative solutions that benefit the environment and local economy of the Sierra Nevada. Since 1994, SBC has been bringing jobs and dollars into the Sierra region and protecting land, water and energy resources.The Sierra Nevada Energy Watch is one of SBCandamp;#8217;s energy efficiency programs. SNEW is a partnership of Sierra Business Council and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PGandamp;E). The partnership provides rebates to small and medium size businesses and governments who install energy efficiency equipment in their facilities. The savings are huge andamp;#8212; for both the environment and the pocketbook. The program, which started in January 2010, has reduced energy usage by 6.5 million kWh. To put that into perspective, andamp;#8220;The average household in the United States uses about 8,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity each yearandamp;#8221; (Power Consumption of a Home, The Physics Factbook). The SNEW program has saved enough energy to power 730 homes non-stop for a year. For the remainder of 2012, SNEW expects to save enough energy to power an additional 500 homes for a year. That means a large reduction in green house gas emissions and one small step toward addressing climate change. Through a series of small steps, the actions of many people, organizations and governments can collectively address climate change (Save Our Snow).In addition to saving energy and money for 340 customers, Sierra Business Councilandamp;#8217;s SNEW program has provided more than $300,000 in income to local electrical contractors who have installed the energy efficiency equipment. Customers have received $615,000 in rebates to help pay for the cost of the energy efficiency installs. They have also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced energy bills. When all the dollar savings are added up, SNEW has brought more than $2 million into the local economy of the Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Nevada Energy Watch is a shining example of economy, community and environment in harmony.Thatandamp;#8217;s the triple bottom line. Thatandamp;#8217;s Sierra Business Council.Jennifer Rosser is Sierra Business Councilandamp;#8217;s program director of the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch. She has worked in the environmental field for 15 years.