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Oakland Shines Incentive Program Helps Downtown Businesses Improve Lighting Efficiency

Oakland has already developed a solid reputation as a leader in the “green revolution,” but it’s about to get even greener.  On February 2, 2011, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan unveiled a new incentive program for local businesses to improve their bottom line with new lighting technologies, while helping to “green” downtown Oakland. The program, Oakland Shines, offers free comprehensive technical and financial assistance to help businesses defray the cost of installing energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration products and HVAC improvements. 

Funded by a $5 million stimulus grant from the California Energy Commission, the program is a collaboration between the City of Oakland, Quantum Energy Services and Technologies Inc. (QuEST) and PG&E.  The partnership focuses on businesses and multifamily buildings with 5 or more units within a 120-square block area that stretches from Jack London Square to West Grand Avenue and from Lake Merritt to Interstate 980.

Mayor Quan hopes that the Oakland Shines program will further build downtown Oakland's identity as a “green showcase for the country.”  “Along with our transit, bike paths and recycling in downtown Oakland,” she said, “we are adding the latest in energy efficiency technology to the mix. The goal of Oakland Shines is to reduce 20% energy use from 80% of businesses in downtown. It’s a start in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.”

Participating business owners and managers will receive assistance with all phases of the process, starting with a no-cost lighting and HVAC assessment.   For most projects, state funding will cover between 50% and 90% of each entity's costs.  Free start-to-finish project management aims to make the program feasible for entities that lack the expertise to implement the changes themselves, or who lack the time to singlehandedly supervise the work.

“Oakland Shines will build on successful business district and neighborhood energy campaigns in the East Bay.  Working with PG&E and other partners will make changes easy and simple,” said Derrick Rebello, President of QuEST. “About half the grant funds will be allocated toward funding rebates for property owners that implement projects recommended by QuEST as a part of the energy audit.”

Many East Bay businesses hope that Oakland Shines will help businesses take the next step in “greening” by installing cost and energy-efficient lighting technologies.

“Many companies and landlords know that improving a building’s efficiency and cutting usage can result in savings, but oftentimes, that is not enough incentive to make changes happen. The intent of Oakland Shines is to rapidly promote new lighting technologies that are ready for widespread use, but often unfamiliar to building owners and operators,” said Scott Wentworth, Oakland Public Works Energy Engineer. “Oakland Shines will help Oakland businesses improve their properties and manage their energy costs.” 

Program administrators are urging interested parties to file their applications as quickly as possible, since funding is limited.   For more information about scheduling an energy audit of your business, contact Oakland Shines at (877) 304-6133 or http://www.oaklandshines.com.


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