City approves $35M energy infrastructure modernization project

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The city of Santa Clarita heard a presentation on Thursday — and ultimately approved the proposal — for a $35 million energy infrastructure modernization project, with the plans set to refurbish city facilities in a green-conscious manner.  

According to city staff, the plan will allow the city to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet growing energy demand, which in turn with achieve “substantial long-term energy cost savings.”  

The citywide assessment identified a variety of areas that need to be improved at city facilities to meet this goal including heating, ventilation, A/C, lighting, windows, pools and more. After placing the program out to bid, city staff recommended a company named Climatec LLC to complete the multi-year improvements project. 

“As part of the Santa Clarita 2025 strategic plan, the city has many evaluating opportunities to complete energy efficiency project upgrades to also all city facilities,” said Darin Seegmiller, the city of Santa Clarita environmental services manager.   

Seegmiller added that the initiative was born out of three objectives: to revitalize aging infrastructure in the most efficient manner, mitigate rising utility costs and promote sustainability — through both renewable energy and smart technologies.    

“With utility costs continuing to increase, there is a desire to mitigate the impact of future rate increases,” said Seegmiller. “For example, over the past five years Southern California Edison rates have increased at a pace that is almost double the rate of the Consumer Price Index.”   

The total estimated operating budget savings is expected to offset the bond debt service and the energy savings through solar will generate approximately 66% of the project’s guaranteed savings alone, according to city staff.   

According to the presentation delivered by city staff, the project, instead of doing it in-house, will be completed by Climatec within a matter of 24 months versus 60 months. The reduction in greenhouse gases will equal 3,322 metric tons per year, or roughly 718 gas-powered cars off the road each year, city staff said during the presentation.  

The project will cost roughly $35 million and financing will cost roughly $11.5 million, meaning that the total cost will be an estimated $46.5 million. However, in terms of the utility, operation and inflation savings, the project will save the city roughly $46.6 million in the long run.     

City Manager Ken Striplin emphasized that the project would not result in any tax increases for residents.  

The motion passed with a 5-0 vote by the Santa Clarita City Council.  

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