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Mesa saves money by 'going green' with SRP

“Today is day of celebration as City of Mesa is ‘getting green by going green,’” said City Manager Chris Brady at news conference Monday, quoting District 5 Councilwoman Dina Higgins from an earlier city statement.

Salt River Project presented City of Mesa officials one over-sized check for $248,479, Monday, as rebates for the city’s efforts to make energy-efficient upgrades while building new and upgrading existing city buildings.

And the pay-off doesn’t stop with Monday’s rebate check.

“There’s a lot of reasons for cities to take on initiatives like this, to find alternative resources, energy resources” Brady said. “And sometimes it can be motivated also by financial (gain) … but in the end we also know it’s just part of the right thing to do to be a good global citizen managing our resources.”

Besides the rebates, the city projects a $407,100 energy-cost savings at City of Mesa buildings and facilities for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

The key to the savings and the city’s initiative to “get green by going green” is simplicity. Most of the upgrades have been as simple as changing the types of light bulbs used in street lamps and light fixtures on city properties, or coating 12 city building tops with “cool roof” products that absorb less heat and lower cooling costs.

One city parking structure scored substantial savings by turning the lights out in the daytime.

“We’re not talking small-scale nuclear generation … we’re talking basic things that everyone can do,” Higgins said.

SRP and city officials want residents and business owners to know they can make these improvements on their own and they can also save money doing it. Businesses can earn their own rebates.

Parts of the city’s rebates and savings came from projects as diverse as installing a solar generating system at the Central Arizona Project plant at 7750 E. Brown Road to adding light censors to Red Mountain Library that turn on only when someone drives up to drop a book off at night.

“You too can save money for basic things. Go look at how you do things at home,” Higgins said. “Maybe, there’s light bulbs you can switch out, maybe you need some timers.”

SRP grants customers up to $300,000 in rebates, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis until all the funds have been used.

“A wastewater treatment facility and a library obviously use energy very differently, yet improvements in both of these facilities qualify for rebates from our business solutions program,” said SRP Program Marketing Manager Cindy Marzofka.

City officials said a lot of the money earned through the rebates is going to be invested in further green upgrades.

Some of the other the recent upgrades include:

• The City’s Fleet Services parking lot had controls installed to dim 65 1,000-watt lamps, which resulted in an energy-usage savings of 50 percent.

• The city conducted energy audits and adopted International Energy Conservation Code standards.

• 2,500 LED streetlamps for a savings of more than 500,000 kilowatt-hours annually. This translates to a savings of 40 percent on energy bills.

Marzofka said Mesa will be used by SRP as a case study to help other cities join its initiative for energy and cost savings.

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