City of West Hollywood Member Spotlight
Cities are at the forefront of combating climate change because they have the ability to enact comprehensive action on a local scale to reduce their climate footprint. However, small cities often have limited personnel, budgets, and other resources, narrowing the feasibility of enacting expensive or time-intensive sustainability initiatives. Regional partnerships with external nonprofits, agencies, and other nearby cities can enable municipalities to replicate projects and leverage connections and best practices. Knowledge sharing allows cities to explore incentive programs and make the best use of available resources. The following LGSEC Member Spotlight highlights the City of West Hollywood’s ability to successfully reduce its energy footprint in collaboration with local partnerships and other resources.
The City of West Hollywood has worked with the SoCalREN Public Agency Programs and Westside Energy Partnership, among other resources and partners, to reduce their energy use. The Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN) Public Agency Programs are ratepayer-funded programs administered by Los Angeles County under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. SoCalREN helps public agencies save energy and lead their communities towards zero net energy and greater sustainability. Westside Energy Partnership is a Local Government Partnership which includes 6 regional Los Angeles County Cities, Southern California Edison®, and SoCalGas® with the goal of helping cities as they implement energy efficiency within facilities and throughout the community. Both SoCalREN Public Agency Programs and Westside Energy Partnership are implemented by The Energy Coalition*, a nonprofit organization helping empower communities to leap into the future of clean energy.
As a leader in climate action, the City of West Hollywood strives to improve its environmental footprint, enhance the efficiency of its municipal operations, and serve as a role model to the community and region. The City of West Hollywood leverages a number of resources and partners, including the SoCalREN Public Agency Programs and the Westside Energy Partnership previously identified, in order to maximize the number and impact of sustainable energy projects Together, these programs are greater than the sum of their parts, offering the city holistic project support and resources to spread energy education to City staff and the West Hollywood community at large.
The City of West Hollywood works with these partners to design, implement, and evaluate municipal energy reduction projects and perform education and awareness initiatives. Their strategic partnerships further enable the City to strengthen its existing operations by reducing municipal energy use and also plan future municipal energy efficiency projects in line with the City’s Climate Action goals.
The City began working with SoCalREN Public Agency Programs in the first quarter of 2017 and with the Westside Energy Partnership at the beginning of 2018. Since then, the City of West Hollywood completed two significant energy retrofits, resulting in an 11% reduction in municipal energy use compared to a 2006 baseline. At the same time, the City has executed several community outreach and education initiatives.
The following completed and ongoing efforts are a few of the many initiatives the City of West Hollywood has taken to cut its municipal energy use.
West Hollywood Park Parking Structure and Kings Road Parking Structure
With SoCalREN’s support, the City of West Hollywood determined that retrofitting the existing lighting to motion-sensored LED at the West Hollywood Park and Kings Road Parking Structures would yield significant potential energy savings. The project was completed in Fall 2018 with an annual savings of 280,412 kWh, cutting the structures energy use by 56%. This is the equivalent of taking 42 cars off the road or powering 34 houses.
CAPTION: Kings Road (above) and West Hollywood Park (below) parking garages.
City Hall Improvements
With help from the SoCalREN and the Westside Energy Partnership, West Hollywood identified its City Hall as a ripe opportunity for energy savings. The building was originally constructed in 1962, with its last major renovation in 1995. After conducting a detailed audit of its energy uses, the City decided to add multiple efficiency upgrades into an existing and budgeted capital project. The City will soon install LED lighting and controls and upgraded automated controls for its data center, vending machines, and coffee pots.
The City of West Hollywood also identified a future project to upgrade City Hall’s wireless pneumatic thermostats and install a Metasys Building Automation System. The City applied to Southern California Edison’s High Opportunity Project & Program (HOPPs) to qualify for performance-based incentive funds which will be paid over time to the City (see Funding Section below). The City Hall Improvements project has an estimated 5.8-year payback including an energy savings of over 154,063 kWh per year, $23,415 in project incentive dollars, and is projected to save 20% to 30% of the facility’s energy use.
City Facilities Benchmarking
Ahead of the first deadline for the State’s Building Energy Benchmarking Program (AB 802) in May 2019, the City of West Hollywood worked with Westside Energy Partnership to upload its municipal buildings and facilities into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. In addition to helping the City comply with the State’s Benchmarking Program, this portfolio manager provides the City with month-by-month data on energy use at each municipal facility. By allowing City staff to have a high-level understanding of the City’s energy use, this tool will help the City plan future municipal retrofit projects accordingly. Staff have already begun to track and monitor energy use over time with this new comprehensive perspective.
Energy Literacy and Awareness Initiatives
The City works together with the Westside Energy Partnership to educate the broader West Hollywood community by sharing practical tips to help people live more sustainably and cut energy use in their everyday lives. At National Night Out, an annual community event that promotes camaraderie with the Sheriff’s department and community, West Hollywood and the Westside Energy Partnership engage and educate kids and adults alike with fun, interactive games. Furthermore, both West Hollywood and the Westside Energy Partnership have attended local farmer’s markets to educate shoppers. Informational pamphlets with sustainable tips are also distributed throughout City facilities.
In October 2019, the City of West Hollywood launched the “Energy Champion Campaign” with the Westside Energy Partnership to encourage energy-saving behavior among City staff. The campaign incorporated a raffle, photo contest, and shared tips, videos, and resources to generate a positive workplace culture, helping to create everyday energy-champions at work and at home. The campaign ended with a WeHoU (lunch and learn) to help staff learn about the City’s sustainability efforts and programs to reduce municipal energy use.
The SoCalREN Public Agency Programs provide assistance to the City of West Hollywood with utility program applications that help make the city eligible to receive rebates and incentive funds upon project completion. These critical services have allowed the City to implement projects that would otherwise not be logistically or financially feasible.
The City utilized Southern California Edison’s On-Bill Financing (OBF) program in 2018 to complete two parking structure retrofit projects. SCE’s OBF program offered incentives and rebates to commercial customers who retrofit lighting with LED fixtures. SCE provided upfront funding in the form of a no-interest loan that will be incrementally repaid by the City each month on its SCE regular monthly bill. The amount of repayment is derived from the energy savings achieved by the projects. SCE’s On-Bill Financing program provided approximately $15,000 in incentives to the City.
In 2019, the City of West Hollywood applied to receive over $23,415 in incentive dollars through SCE’s High Opportunity Project & Programs (HOPPs) for the City Hall Improvements project. This financing mechanism will realize a return on investment in 5.8 years.