Auburn's Placer County Courthouse, other buildings, poised to go greener

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Placer County is tapping into a federal energy efficiency block grant to pay for most of a million-dollar project to make the 113-year-old Placer County Courthouse and 28 other buildings greener. As well as the historic courthouse in Auburn, several branch libraries and more than a dozen of the remaining World War II era brick buildings at DeWitt Center will be due for upgrades. Supervisors approved a funding appropriation Tuesday that will result in a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation grant administered by the California Energy Commission paying for $606,000 of the work. The grant program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Total cost is just short of $1 million. Pacific Gas & Electric will also be providing funding, with an estimated $133,000 in rebates and incentives expected to be coming the county’s way as energy savings accrue. And the Administrative Office of the Courts, which holds the deed to most of the interior office space inside the Placer County Courthouse, is providing $94,000 for work at the Maple Street facility. Plans include replacing heating and air-conditioning units, putting in more efficient lighting and installing new timing controls at some locations to help reduce overall energy consumption. Deputy Director Joel Swift of the Facility Services Department said that the county share of costs would be $99,472 and payback through energy efficiencies would come within three years. The initial cost for the county of $326,473 would come from the building projects fund. The fund would be paid back from the grant, $133,000 in PG&E rebates and other sources. New heating and air conditioning will be installed at the courthouse and a housing unit at the Placer County Jail in North Auburn. In other board business Tuesday: - Supervisor Jack Duran said he would like the board to have a closer look at its $100,000 “revenue sharing” fund it dispenses annually to charitable organizations and non-profit events. The newly elected supervisor from Roseville abstained from voting on two revenue-sharing requests at the meeting. On a 3-0 vote supervisors approved $200 for the Placer County SPCA and $500 for Gold Country Medical History Museum renovation work in Old Town Auburn. - A report from PlacerGROWN included introduction of that group’s 2011 Farmer of the Year recipient, the Snow family of Snow’s Citrus Court in Newcastle. n Supervisors approved the appointment of Gregory Todd Fayard to a seat on the county Parks Commission. Duran made the nomination. - The board ratified an amended agreement with Steven Reader Enterprises for project planning and other services for the first phase of the South Placer Adult Correctional Facility project. Reader, a retired Placer County Sheriff’s Office captain, will be paid up to $41,600 under the new contract.