Santa Barbara City College reduced $90,000 from its annual energy expenses after installing a solar powered parking lot at its West Campus in 2001.

The photovoltaic carport provides shade for three rows of parking and generates 200 kilowatts per hour — roughly 30 percent of West Campus’ electricity — to cut 559,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually. SBCC worked alongside San Clemente-based renewable energy company Compass Energy Solutions for the past six years to improve the campus’ environmental sustainability practices.

According to SBCC Director of Facilities and Campus Development Julie Hendricks, the administration will expand the program to increase control of campuswide energy use.

“We are currently upgrading the energy management system,” Hendricks said. “It is essentially a web-based control system of all the exterior lighting. What that allows you to do is control room temperatures and lights for specific times of day so that you can make us more efficient.”

Fred Ghahramani, president of Compass Energy Solutions, LP, said the partnership helps SBCC save a significant portion of its finances each year.

“CES has been working with SBCC … developing and implementing a variety of energy efficiency measures, such as interior and lighting retrofits, chiller and boiler retrofits, stadium lighting design and installation and energy management system for the entire campus,” Ghahramani said in an e-mail. “This combination effort is saving SBCC approximately $600,000 annually.”

Several SBCC green projects mirror similar UCSB renovations including upgrades to water heating and cooling systems.

UCSB Campus Energy Manager David McHale said the administration will install three 400-ton water coolers to maximize energy-use efficiency.

“Rather than all 19 chillers running — which is expensive — we just run the most efficient chillers and the appropriate number of chillers to be more efficient,” McHale said. “That project will come in at about $2.2 million saved; it should pay itself off in eight years, but the chillers will operate for about 20 years so you will save millions of dollars over the life of the chillers.”

McHale said the installation will help 10 research facilities reduce emissions from the water-cooling process.

“When you chill that water you take heat out of it and send it into a cooling tower and then into the atmosphere,” McHale said. “We are going to capture that heat and warm the water with that rather than waste it into the atmosphere. The other addition is that we can turn that second boiler off in every building.”