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Salk Institute named SDG&E 2012 Energy Champion

saving energy

The Salk Institute received an SDG&E Energy Efficiency Business Incentive in recognition of its environmental leadership and contribution to sustainable communities through its energy effciency efforts.

Infrastructure improvements generate major energy performance and savings

At an awards ceremony on May 10, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) named the Salk Institute an Energy Champion for its outstanding efforts in energy efficiency and conservation. The Institute is one of 13 local businesses recognized for "going above and beyond to save energy and money by taking advantage of the many rebates and incentives that are available through SDG&E's energy-efficiency and demand response programs," said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for SDG&E.

With a set of energy demands that has evolved since the campus was originally built in 1962, the Institute completed an entire retrofit and expansion of its central plant mechanical and electrical infrastructure to improve overall energy efficiency, sustainability and cost savings.

"The ultimate challenge was trying to complete the full scope of the project within the confines of an historic and iconic structure," says Tim Ball, senior director of Facility Services. "In addition to maintaining design integrity, changing out the entire infrastructure without interruption to the science was an endeavor in and of itself."

The electrical infrastructure upgrade and new energy-efficiency measures have resulted in an annual savings of 3 million kWh for the Institute. And in recognition of its environmental leadership and contribution to sustainable communities through its energy efficiency efforts, the Salk also received $284,000 in incentives by working with SDG&Es Energy Efficiency Business Incentives (EEBI) program and $974,346 California Solar Initiative incentives for a photovoltaic system consisting of more than 2,350 photovoltaic solar panels that sit on top of all four major buildings on the campus, generating 465 kilowatts of electrical power; the natural power combined with the EEBI efficiency measures provides annual savings of nearly $340,000.

The environmental impact of the solar arrays and efficiency measures are significant; they keep approximately 846,000 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere annually, along with nearly 800 pounds of sulfur dioxide and 1,240 pounds of nitric oxide, two of the major pollutants produced by power plants. Over the next 25 years, the solar system and efficiency measure installations will be equivalent to planting 128 acres of trees.

"Although challenging, the opportunity to enhance this infrastructure with energy efficiency improvements was monumental, as the Salk Institute is a haven for discovery with global impact on human health," adds Ball.