Truckee utility tackling conservation |

Truckee utility tackling conservation

TRUCKEE “-With more than 50,000 compact florescent bulbs and almost 10 miles of LED Christmas lights given away and a solar power program booked into 2010, the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s conservation work is proving useful.

“Our conservation programs in 2008 have been extremely successful,” said Steven Poncelet, public information and conservation manager for the district.

During the last year, the district rolled out a number of giveaways for efficient light bulbs and holiday light strands, rebates and incentives to dispose of and replace old, inefficient appliances, and partnerships to make business and residents more energy efficient, Poncelet said.

And now that the district has had some time to evaluate those programs, he said they’ve paid off.

The district board had a stated target of reducing energy load by .67 percent, Poncelet said, and initial numbers for the year shows reductions of between 1.6 and 1.7 percent.

That means those programs ” which add an average of 2 cents per kilowatt hour on a bill ” take an average of 13 cents per kilowatt hour back off, he said.

“I’d say the 2 cents is justified,” Poncelet said. “It benefits the environment and puts money in our customer’s pockets.”

Dan Warren, a Truckee resident who recently ran for the district board, said he thinks the district is off to a good start.

“They’ve laid really good ground work to expand on in energy,” Warren said.

But one place he said he’d like to see more is in water conservation.

Going into 2009, the district has plans to expand on energy conservation programs, as well as add water conservation measures.

“One program is smart water controllers,” Poncelet said. “Smart meters that sense atmospheric and soil conditions and adjust sprinklers.”

Golf courses already have them, but a number of users, like schools, the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, and others could benefit, said General Manager Michael Holley in a previous interview.

A demonstration garden at the district building using native plants that don’t need as much water is also in the works, Poncelet said, along with measures to take advantage of the upcoming water metering.

“I think the demonstration garden is a great idea, it’s time to start decommissioning some lawns,” Warren said. “Especially with metering people need to know how to conserve.”

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