The City of Salem is on track to save more than 8.75 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually thanks to recent and ongoing projects to improve energy efficiency. According to the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this is enough electricity to power roughly 975 average homes for an entire year!
The combined savings come from upgrades to Salem's streetlights, updates to systems at the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility, and the replacement of the chiller that cools both the Salem Public Library and City Hall. Once all projects are complete, the energy efficiency enhancements will save the City an estimated $834,000 a year. The savings will help offset the increasing cost to operate and maintain City infrastructure and services.
In February 2017, the City began the process of switching its streetlights from high pressure sodium lamps (HPS) to more energy efficient LED lights. The City worked with Portland General Electric and Salem Electric to complete the project last November. The new LED lights use roughly 50 percent less energy, 4.51 million kWh annually, than the older HPS lamps. They are also more reliable and last four times longer.
- Willow Lake Treatment Facility Upgrades
In September 2017, the City announced on its website that it received a $3 million grant from Portland General Electric's Renewable Development Fund to update the cogeneration facility at the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Facility. For 30 years this clean, energy generation system has powered a portion of the wastewater treatment facility. Once upgrades are complete in 2019, the cogeneration facility will create an additional 2.66 million kWh annually. This is enough to power 50 percent of the wastewater treatment facility.
Another notable energy saving improvement at Willow Lake is an upgrade to a more energy efficient blower system that provides oxygen for microorganisms critical to the wastewater treatment process. The new blower was installed in February 2017 and will save the City more than 552,000 kWh annually.
- Salem Civic Center Chiller Replacement
On December 1, 2017, the City began the process of replacing the chiller that cools City Hall and the Salem Public Library. Rated to last 16 years, the old system was well into its 17th year of service and due to frequent breakdowns, was only operating at 60 to 70 percent efficiency. The new system uses roughly 40 percent less power than the old system and has a rated service life of 25 years. Once the replacement is complete in March 2018, it will save more than 1.02 million kWh annually.
Learn more about the City of Salem's environmental stewardship