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Tahoe City, Calif. – As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)ย recognized Placer County for its leadership in improving energy efficiency across its 5-million-square-foot portfolio of county-owned buildings and schools by 20 percent in 10 years. Through the department’s Better Buildings Challenge, the county’s showcase project, the Granlibakken conference center and resort, is expecting a 43 percent reduction in energy use and savings of up to $44,000 each year.

“All over the United States, cities and counties like Placer County are overcoming unique energy efficiency challenges by deploying comprehensive and flexible solutions,” said Maria Vargas, director of the Better Buildings Challenge. “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.”

The Granlibakken conference center and resort is achieving its energy savings in the kitchen by replacing obsolete refrigerators, dishwashers and stove-hood exhaust systems with energy-efficient models. Newly automated heating and air conditioning systems also were installed to increase the efficiency of the facility’s natural gas boilers.

The 14,680-square-foot conference center and resort’s comprehensive retrofit and energy audit was financed by mPower Placer, which uses a property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing model. The county’s mPOWER program facilitates energy conservation improvements with no upfront costs for property owners across Placer County and the Lake Tahoe region.

“Through mPOWER, Placer County helps local businesses make energy improvements that increase profit margins while taking a positive step for the environment,” said Jenine Windeshausen, Placer County Treasurer Tax Collector and mPOWER program administrator. “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 cornerstone of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Better Buildings Challenge is aimed at achieving the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating corporate and public-sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 250 organizations are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve 20 percent portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. Across the country, partners have shared energy data for more than 32,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 4,500 properties, and 10 percent or more at 12,000 properties.

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