Solar trash cans have been showing up in parks while a hotel on Cherokee Lane has new air conditioners, windows and doors in the rooms, thanks to federal stimulus dollars received by the city.
Lodi has spent $400,000 of the $586,000 it received in federal stimulus funding to complete energy-efficient projects.
City staff is working to get the rest of the money spent by the 2011 deadline, including a school educational project that the city has not been able to get off the ground.
The 10 projects will reduce electricity consumption by two million kilowatthours annually and will also reduce fuel consumption.
The projects include upgrades to city buildings and equipment and rebates for Electric Utility customers. The rebates are taking longer to distribute, said Rob Lechner, manager of customer service and programs.
"Since these are rebate-driven, customers have to want to do these things," Lechner said.
Here is a list of the projects and what is happening with them:
Solar-powered trash compactors
$53,000 to purchase and install 14 trash-compacting garbage cans.
Update: All the trash cans are out in the parks, including Lodi Lake, Emerson Park, Century Meadows Park, Salas Park and Kofu Park, said Jim Rodems, interim parks and recreation director. The city put the trash cans in high-use areas at the parks.
One of the trash cans can hold the equivalent of four normal cans. The robotic cans use solar power to compact garbage and also send a signal, similar to a text message, to a computer that lets city staff know when the cans need to be emptied.
The city expects to recoup the costs of the cans in two years because it will save money on gas and employee time.
New Grape Bowl lighting
$100,000 to remove inefficient lights and replace them with lower wattage lamps.
Update: The city completed the project in March, and the city has tested the system, and it is working great, Rodems said.
The previous lights were 20-foot candles, which is a measure of light intensity. The city's requirement for playing surfaces is a minimum of 30-foot candles. The new lights are 50- to 55-foot candles, so they are doubling the amount of light on the field.
The new lights have less spill into the residential neighborhoods because they have shutters on them. Even though the lights are emitting more light, they use 50 percent less energy, Rodems said.
How you may participate
Some of the Lodi Electric Utility energy-efficient programs are open to residents. To find out if you qualify, contact the utility at 333-6815.
Energy efficient rebates
$50,000 to go into the utility's existing program to reward residents who make home improvements, including upgrading attic or ceiling insulation and installing thermal shield roofing materials, window tinting or a high-efficiency central air conditioner.
Update: The city has used $30,000 of the federal money, Lechner said. It has doubled rebates to encourage residents to make the upgrades. For example, the city has increased its rebate for a whole house fan from $100 to $200.
Low-income refrigerator replacement
$50,000 to an existing program to remove old, inefficient refrigerators and replace them with energy-saving ones.
Update: The city has to spend all the local funds it has in the program, before using the stimulus funds. This summer, the city will revise its contract with the city of Lodi and San Joaquin County and will start spending the stimulus funds later this year, Lechner said.
Lodi Cool the Earth
$25,000 for an educational outreach pilot program for K-6 students at schools. It focuses on ways to get students involved in energy and water conservation, renewable energy and sustainable living practices. Students take what they learn to improve energy efficiency at home.
Update: The city has not been able to get this program off the ground, mainly because of the budget crisis at the schools.
"Schools have to want to engage in these programs, but they are focused on other things, which I can totally appreciate," Lechner said.
He hopes to work with teachers and administrators this summer so he can have the program up and running in August or September.
If the city cannot get the program going, Lechner said he will put in an application to switch the $25,000 to a different rebate program or to pay for a renovation of a city building because he does not want the city to lose the money.
Lodi Keep Your Cool
$25,000 to replace refrigeration door gaskets at restaurants, mini-markets and other small food and drink stores.
Update: This city used all the money by November to pay for refrigerator gaskets at businesses, including Apple Marketplace, Food4Less and La Luna Mexican Restaurant, which recently closed.
Improve energy efficiency for tourist lodging
$48,000 to complete conservation measures, including lighting retrofits, room occupancy controls and central heating and air improvements, at hotels and motels.
Update: The city has already completed a $13,000 project for a motel on Cherokee Lane. The city updated the 18 rooms at the Modern Motor Lodge. They put in high-efficiency individual air conditioners that also have a heater, dual paned windows and energy efficient doors.
Lechner said that besides saving money on utility bills, the rooms are quieter.
The city still needs to decide on how to spend the remaining funds. The city is also looking at a large project with the Lodi El Rancho Motel where they would also install energy-efficient windows and individual air conditioners. They are also looking at re-doing the bathroom lighting.
Kofu Park community building upgrades
$20,000 to install a high-efficiency central heating and cooling system, dual-paned windows, door sweeps, weather-stripping and new attic insulation.
Update: The project is still in the design phase, and the city is estimating the costs of the project. Rodems said the project will go to the council for approval in June, and it should be finished by the end of the summer.
Hutchins Street Square upgrades
$15,000 to purchase and install a new energy management system to allow employees to operate the central heating and cooling system more efficiently on-site or remotely.
Update: The air conditioning system does not work correctly because it has corrupted software, Rodems said. The city is working with a company who will design new software that will allow the city to replace that part without replacing the whole system. He estimates it will be done by the end of the summer.
$200,000 to replace 25 of the city of Lodi's server computers with eight high-efficiency computers.
Update: The city has finished this project, said Jeff Hood, city spokesman. The new servers are many times smaller, meaning that they put out less heat, but they hold more information.