• Chamber News

  • Circle V Ranch, gets a Lighting Upgrade through the Energy Watch Partnership

    In the summer of 2017, the devastating Whittier Fire roared over hills and through canyons of eighteen thousand acres of dry California land near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County. At Circle V Ranch, children attending a week-long retreat and staff found themselves trapped in the path of the approaching blaze. With the assistance of firefighters and the Forestry Service, all of them were able to evacuate in the nick of time.

    While other local camps were completely destroyed, Circle V Ranch, which is operated by the Society of St. Vincent DePaul of Los Angeles, was more fortunate. Most of its structures remained standing, although the overall damage was extensive. They vowed to rebuild and are on track to reopen in 2019.

    Recognizing that any dollar saved matters, Camp Director Ray Lopez reached out to the Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership to see how the camp could benefit through energy efficiency upgrades. The Partnership, headed by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and funded through PG&E and SoCalGas, has a grant program for assisting non-profits and responded immediately. Staples Energy, the official installation company, responded with an assessment. The Partnership approved a grant to pay for the majority of the cost to replace the existing lighting with LED’s.

    In June of 2018, the Staples Energy Crew changed out over 300 bulbs and fixtures throughout the facility. With the Partnership grant program contributing funds to cover the majority of the required co-pay, Circle V Ranch was able to have the project completed at minimal cost.

    As a result of the participation of the Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership, Circle V Ranch saves 25,267 kWh of energy annually. The cost savings for the facility is over $4,000 per year. This is a return that the camp gets year after year, and the money is put back into camping programs that are beneficial to disadvantaged youth throughout the local region and Southern California.

    The Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership is proud to have assisted Circle V Ranch and continues to assist non-profits. The list of organizations benefitting from the Partnership is extensive. They include Good Samaritan Shelter, Community Action Commission, American Legion Post 534 in Orcutt, Orcutt Lion’s Club, Guadalupe Senior Center and others.

    The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce administers the Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership. PG&E and SoCalGas are the funding members. Staples Energy performs Direct Install work for the Partnership. The cities of Santa Maria, Guadalupe Buellton, Solvang and the County of Santa Barbara round out the membership. The Partnership has provided energy assistance upgrades for all of its municipal members and has assisted over 400 businesses in north Santa Barbara County since 2010.

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