SANTA CLARITA — That parental advice to turn off lights when leaving a room is projected to help Santa Clarita save about $70,000 per year.
Work crews from Honeywell Inc. are finishing retrofits this week to Santa Clarita's field services office, replacing fluorescent lights and installing separate lighting circuits.
More efficient electrical lights and new circuits--allowing lights to remain on only where work is being done in the Valencia facility--are the latest energy-saving improvements in a program designed to slash Santa Clarita's utility bills.
Approved by the City Council in October, 1992, but delayed to mesh with other maintenance work at the 20-year-old field office, the program is designed to pay for itself over the next five years with a cumulative utility bill savings of $348,667.
Santa Clarita's 7-year-old City Hall underwent Honeywell improvements earlier this year, with timers installed to shut off heating and cooling units on holidays and after hours. Devices known as economizers were also added, allowing the building's air conditioner to either directly lower indoor temperatures or draw in cooler air from the outside, whichever is more efficient.
"Anything over 5 years old has the opportunity for retrofit," said Ken Casey, Honeywell municipal account representative. "We started the program 2 1/2 years ago and several cities are taking advantage of it."
The cost of the retrofitting and an ongoing maintenance contract is $289,405, with Honeywell spreading Santa Clarita's payments over the next five years. It allows the city to pay for the work with its utility savings and still clear $6,500 to $18,000 annually over the next few years.
If Santa Clarita doesn't receive the cost reductions projected by Honeywell during the next five years, the company will pay the difference, Casey said.
Once Honeywell is paid, Santa Clarita will reap the full benefits of the energy savings--projected at about $77,000 by 1999 and growing thereafter.
"That's where the gold mine is, once the program is paid off," said Jesse Juarros, city general services manager.
It is unknown how long Santa Clarita will directly benefit from the energy-saving modifications to its City Hall building.
There are plans to relocate Santa Clarita's City Council chambers and department offices from the current Valencia Boulevard site, although officials are unsure when it will happen. The future City Hall complex, proposed near the southeast corner of where San Fernando and Soledad Canyon roads intersect, is still being designed.
"It's going to depend a lot on the economy," said Gail Foy, city public information officer. "We may be here a while."
Other businesses working out of the City Hall building and visiting residents have not reported changes since the retrofitting.
"We only look at the inefficiencies in the building. We don't cut till it hurts," Casey said. "A tenant should not see an inconvenience."