Wasco State Prison – Reception Center (WSP) was in the national spotlight on Oct. 9 2008, as California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Matthew Cate, local officials and representatives from four Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s) showcased 16 major energy saving retrofit projects underway at CDCR prisons.
By the end of 2011, CDCR will have installed energy efficiency projects that save more than 41 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity and 1.5 million therms of natural gas annually. These projects save taxpayers on average $5 million a year in reduced utility payments.
All projects are overseen by the CDCR Facility Planning, Construction and Management Division’s Energy and Sustainability Section. Retrofit projects at each prison are completed with plant operations staff and in some cases, independent contractors. Retrofits include modifying heating, and air conditioning systems and controls, replacing ovens, outdated light fixtures and electric motor upgrades.
The project funding was secured through low interest loans, which are paid off within several years of the project completion and offset by incentives from the investor-owned-utilities at no cost to the state General Fund.
The projects add to existing energy savings efforts at CDCR prisons, and compliment the CDCR sustainability portfolio with other projects like on-site solar photovoltaic power generation, implementing peak load reduction programs and water saving devices. In the search to save energy, virtually all aspects of prison operations are scrutinized.