Energy Efficiency Projects

Plumas County Buildings get "Green" Lights

Department of Facility Services 2010 Energy Efficiency Projects

Plumas County has been awarded a grant from the California Energy Commission in the amount of  $108,509.00. This is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 

This grant will be used to purchase and install energy efficient lights and equipment.  It is anticipated that the new lighting will reduce energy and maintenance costs for the years to come.

 Key Points

  • The County is maximizing the Grant award by partnering with other agencies.
  • Interior lighting energy consumption will be reduced by 12%
  • Exterior lighting energy consumption will be reduced by 43-54% using induction lights.
  • Induction technology last 9 times longer than conventional security lights thus reducing the maintenance costs


In an effort to leverage the funds available, the County has partnered with several agencies including Feather River College and the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch.

Feather River College will be providing labor for installation of exterior wall pack lights at several County Facilities. Additionally the College has developed a course that helps to train individuals on the principles and methods of energy efficiency upgrades. 

The Sierra Nevada Energy Watch is a nonprofit partially funded through PG&E's community facilities program. They will provide the County with 2,044 new 28 watt T8 ballasts and lamps for installation in the majority of the County Facilities including the Courthouse, Jail, and Libraries.  The value of the equipment is $28,616.00. The Energy grant will provide the funds to have these interior lights installed by a licensed contractor.  Please check our website for the bid package in October 2010

Projects Planned / Financial Impacts

The average life cycle of fluorescent ballasts is approximately 12 years. In 2000 the County Facility Department managed a major lighting upgrade that replaced 44 watt T12 lights to 32Watt T8 lights. At the time this provided an energy savings of 28%.  These lights are now approaching the end of their lifespan and will begin to fail rapidly.

The interior lighting upgrade planned as part of this grant will not only replace the existing ballasts at the end of their life cycle at no cost to the County, but will provide an additional annual energy savings of 12%.

Other upgrades funded by this grant include installation of 90 exterior wall pack security lighting units. Most of the County's current security lighting is incandescing metal halide or high pressure sodium. The disadvantages of these types of lights include higher energy costs and maintenance costs. Induction wall packs will be purchased and installed to replace the existing units. The induction lights have a life of 100,000 hours compared to 11,000 hours of a metal halide lamp.

The average energy savings replacing these exterior security lights will be between 43% to 54% annually. This combined with the long life and low maintenance of this technology should significantly reduce the cost of lighting in Plumas County's Facilities.

It is anticipated that this project will be completed by December 2010.