California's Prison System Goes Green

Corrections Forum, January/February 2009 | Go to article overview

California's Prison System Goes Green


Last fall, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced an ambitious retrofit, conservation, and solar energy plan today in response to Governor Schwarzenegger's Green Initiative Executive Order.

Construction on 16 energy efficiency retrofit projects statewide is underway, and com- pletion of all projects was expect- ed in the coming months. Ultimately, these projects will save 25 million kilowatt hours and 650,000 therms of energy each year at CDCR facilities, the equivalent of taking 3,770 cars off the road. These projects alone are projected to result in $3.2 million in annual savings to California taxpayers.

"These energy conservation and retrofit projects are great examples of the innovative public-private partnerships that I envisioned when issuing my Green Initiative Executive Order," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "By utilizing green technology, our prison system is improving the environment and maximizing taxpayer dollars, and it is my hope that others across the state and nation will follow this example."

CDCR also announced that Wasco State Prison is one of six prisons slated to be a site for new solar power fields, which will each produce more than one megawatt of pollution-free electricity per year. Each solar project will provide enough energy to power 226 homes a year. CDCR currently has solar fields operating at Ironwood and Chuckawala Valley State Prisons, providing up to 25 percent of their power at peak demand.

"Under Gov. Schwarzenegger, the state of California has shown a firm commitment to utilizing green technology to improve our environment. California's prison system is adamant about meeting the Governor's energy reduction goals, and has an aggressive plan in place to increase efficiency statewide," said Matthew Cate, CDCR Secretary. "As California's largest agency, with 67,000 dedicated employees spread across hundreds of physical locations throughout this diverse state, CDCR has a unique opportunity to make a huge impact on California's energy grid on a daily basis. These energy projects allow our agency to harness solar power, maximize conservation efforts, increase efficiencies, and ultimately reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Retrofit projects at each prison are conducted by private contrac- tors, and include HVAC retrofits, lighting retrofits and motor upgrades. …

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