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Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill - saving money, reducing your carbon footprint, and making a statement - without sacrificing features, style or comfort. Did you know that the City of Monterey purchases 100% of its power from a renewable energy provider? See the related article, "City of Monterey Purchases 100% Renewable Power"

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City Buildings Reduce Energy Consumption and Costs
The City implemented several lighting upgrades throughout the City. The old lighting fixtures were replaced with the latest lighting technologies available and are reducing average energy consumption by 35%. More importantly, every kWh saved reduces the need to produce this energy, thus reducing the carbon emissions and carbon footprint for the Monterey peninsula.

Rebates Help Fund Projects
The projects were partly funded through rebates received from the California Public Utilities Commission. The projects were completed within budget at $640,000. The City received rebates in the amount of $75,000. By tracking our energy consumption and their associated costs, we anticipate a cost savings of approximately $50,000 annually. The Monterey Sport Center project began in 2005 by replacing the lighting in the Gymnasium. In 2007 high-pressure sodium lights in the swimming pool area were replaced with induction lighting. The anticipated yearly savings from these changes is approximately $47,000.

Lighting Upgrades Reduce Maintenance Costs
The new lights have a life expectancy of more than 100,000 hours compared to the 30,000 hours for the older types, thus cutting back on replacement cycles and maintenance costs. These additional savings are estimated to be around $65,000 over the lifetime of the lights for all project sites. The time savings can be now be allocated to other areas in the City, thus raising the standard of our services.

energy saving tips

Be energy wise! When demand goes up, such as in summer months, energy availability goes down. During peak energy use hours of 4pm - 9pm, use less energy to decrease demand on the grid. Sign up for Flex Alerts - voluntary calls for consumers to conserve electricity - that are issued when energy demand reaches available capacity. A few ways to conserve energy (and save money) throughout the year include:
  • Switch to LED lighting, which uses at least 75% less energy and lasts up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
  • Unplugging electronics and turning off lights that are not in active use.
  • Using natural light or task lighting.
  • Washing clothes in cold water (this can also increase clothing longevity as many fabrics prefer cold water).
  • Only drying full loads of laundry to maximize efficiency.
  • When remodeling or building a new home, invest in ENERGY STAR rated appliances and apply for rebates available from local agencies and retailers.

compact Fluorescent Lighting and Mercury
Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) contain mercury and require special handling. CFLs can be taken to the following locations on the Peninsula for safe disposal:
  • Home Depot
  • ReGen Monterey
For more on CFLs see below. For more on disposal and household hazardous waste, see here.

Energy Rebate Programs

Water Rebate Programs

logo-go-blueWater is scarce in Monterey and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is here to help you conserve this valuable resource. MPWMD offers great reward programs to residents and businesses that are willing to make the switch to water conserving operations. For more information on the rebate programs for water conserving appliances, contact the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District's rebate application. Are you curious to know if your recently purchased appliance qualifies for a rebate? Check out for details.

Energy Rebates
Energy efficient choices can save families about a third on their energy bill - saving money, reducing your carbon footprint, and making a statement - without sacrificing features, style or comfort.

The California Energy Commission has the "Cash for Appliances" program when you recycle your old appliances and purchase new energy efficient models. learn more about "Cash for Appliances"

Pacific Gas and Electric offers a variety of rebates for qualified lighting products and appliances. Appliances typically include dishwashers, heating and cooling equipment, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water heaters and more.

Energy Star is an international standard for energy efficient consumer products that has been in place since 1992. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo, such as computer products, kitchen appliances, buildings and other products, save an average of 20%-30% of electricity. If looking for new household products, look for ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR. They meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy. More information about Energy Star programs and products is available at

Federal Tax Credits

Do your energy efficient upgrades qualify you for a tax break? Homeowners and builders may qualify for energy-efficiency tax credits under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Also, you may be eligible for rebates when installing solar panels on your home or business, see Go Solar California for more info,

Compact Fluorescent Lighting and Mercury

What are CFLs and Mercury?
Mercury is an element (Hg on the periodic table) found naturally in the environment. Mercury emissions in the air can come from both natural and man-made sources. Utility power plants (mainly coal-fired) are the largest man-made source, because mercury that naturally exists in coal is released into the air when coal is burned to make electricity. Energy efficient CFLs present an opportunity to prevent mercury emissions from entering the environment because they help to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants. Coal-fired power generation accounts for roughly 40 percent of the mercury emissions in the U.S.

EPA is implementing policies to reduce airborne mercury emissions. Under regulations EPA issued in 2005, mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants will drop by nearly 70 percent by 2018.

For more information on all sources of mercury, visit:

EPA is continually reviewing its clean-up and disposal recommendations for CFLs to ensure that the Agency presents the most up-to-date information for consumers and businesses.

For more information about compact fluorescent bulbs, visit:
How do you clean up broken CFLs?
EPA recommends the following clean-up and disposal guidelines:

  • Open a window and leave the room (restrict access) for at least 15 minutes.
  • Remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner.
  • Place all cleanup materials in a plastic bag and seal it. - If your state permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the CFL in two plastic bags and put into the outside trash (if no other disposal or recycling options are available). - Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.
  • The first time you vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag once done cleaning the area (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag and/or vacuum debris, as well as the cleaning materials, in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.
What are my recycling options?

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) are banned from landfills and should not be thrown the trash due to their mercury content. Various businesses and organizations throughout the County of Monterey will accept these used items and dispose of them in an environmentally friendly manner. Currently accepting unbroken CFL light bulbs free of charge:

  • ReGen Monterey HHW Drop-Off
  • Home Depot

Important: Use care when transporting CFLs and other fluorescent light bulbs to prevent breakage. Fluorescent bulbs release mercury vapor into the air when broken, requiring special care to clean up. 

What else should I know?

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams, which is roughly equivalent to an amount that would cover the tip of a ball-point pen. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. It would take 100 CFLs to equal that amount. Mercury currently is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. Many manufacturers have taken significant steps to reduce mercury used in their fluorescent lighting products. In fact, the average amount of mercury in a CFL is anticipated to drop by the end of 2007, thanks to technology advances and a commitment from the members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Why should I switch to using CFLs?

Switching from traditional light bulbs to CFLs is an effective, accessible change every American can make right now to reduce energy use at home and prevent greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change. Lighting accounts for close to 20 percent of the average home’s electric bill. Changing to CFLs costs little upfront and provides a quick return on investment. If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of more than 800,000 cars annually.