Turning savings into more savings at the North Valley Baptist Church

Installing energy-efficiency upgrades can create easy savings for businesses. One of ourNorth Valey Baptist staff member stands in auditorium under new lighting customers, North Valley Baptist Church, proactively uses the financial savings it has received from efficiency improvements to invest in additional energy-efficiency upgrades. This continuous reinvestment, along with our rebates, helps the church to continue lowering its energy bills while actively reducing its carbon footprint.

The North Valley Baptist Church has been a part of the Santa Clara community since 1975. Two years later, the church also founded the North Valley Baptist Schools. Together they have received over $23,000 from our rebate programs and achieved over 100,000 kWh in savings.

The first efficiency upgrade occurred in the middle school gymnasium in 2012. High-intensity discharge lighting fixtures were replaced with more efficient, high-output fluorescent T5 fixtures. The school utilized the lighting rebate and saved $1,200 on the installation. This project saves the school nearly 10,000 kWh annually and paid for itself in less than two years.

Using the financial savings from its 2012 lighting upgrade, the North Valley Baptist Church has gone on to install a number of additional efficiency upgrades throughout the church and schools. These projects have primarily involved lighting upgrades. The church has installed LED lighting in the sanctuary, bible school halls and classrooms, gymnasiums, the worship auditorium and dormitory hallways. LED lighting is one of the most energy-efficient lighting options. LED bulbs are up to seven times more efficient and last 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs. The church’s savings on these projects are typically very quick, with some even paying for themselves in less than one year after installation.

The church has also used its financial savings to install high-efficiency packaged terminal air conditioners (PTAC) in school dormitories. PTACs are oftentimes found in large multiunit buildings like hotels or apartment complexes because they are efficient, quiet and easy to maintain. The PTACs will more than pay for the cost of the units over their lifetime.

In 2019 alone, the North Valley Baptist Church and its schools have installed four separate lighting upgrades. Financial savings from these projects will allow them to continue actively investing in efficiency upgrades and reduce their utility bills for years to come.

A Love for Problem-Solving

Justin Webb loves to figure things out.Silicon Valley Power Generation technician wearing a hard hat with the DVR power plant in the background

After earning a degree in industrial electronics, Justin soon put his problem-solving skills to the test while working at Loma Linda University Medical Center as a central utilities plant technician. One day, a damaged power pole took down the power plant that provided electricity and heat to the hospital. To make matters worse, the black-start generator for the plant failed to start. Justin had four hours to restore steam for heating before hospital staff would have to evacuate patients for health and safety concerns. Thinking on his feet, he was able to jump-start the black-start generator using the engine from a forklift and electric scooters that had 12-volt batteries. He remained calm under pressure and was able to restore power to the generator, plant and hospital.

Justin’s love for problem solving is what attracted him to a career in utilities. After spending five years at Loma Linda University, Justin worked at Calpine, a wholesale electric company, before joining our team at Silicon Valley Power. He has spent the past three years as an electric utility generation technician. In this role, Justin flexes his problem-solving muscles by ensuring that all systems at the Donald Von Raesfeld (DVR) Power Plant are operating correctly both physically and chemically.

“I really enjoy the troubleshooting aspect of my job,” Justin said. “It’s so fulfilling and satisfying when I am able to quickly identify and solve anything I may discover during my inspections.”

Justin also regulates the electrical generation at the DVR power plant, raising and lowering the output of the gas turbines based on demand from customers. He is part of a team of 17 people who all find satisfaction from problem-solving at work. “My team is so knowledgeable, cooperative and fun to be around,” Justin said. “I couldn’t think of a better crew to work with!”

On the weekends, Justin can be found in the outdoors with his wife and two young sons. They enjoy traveling the Sierras for hiking and camping, as well as spending hot summer weekends at the beach. Justin and his wife are currently training to hike Half Dome in Yosemite in the spring. After completing Half Dome, their next goal is to climb Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.