The Placer County Historic Courthouse, also known as the Auburn Courthouse, was built in 1898 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This grand, three-story Classic Revival structure is topped by a bracketed cornice and simple Renaissance Revival-inspired dome. Over the years, the County made improvements, adding water fountains, fire escapes, and an elevator, which was installed in 1948. In 1990, the building underwent an extensive restoration effort. Since 2010 Placer County has implemented an energy efficiency retrofit to the Courthouse to reduce energy costs and improve occupant comfort.
Energy efficiency upgrades to the historic brick and stone building presented unique challenges due to the complex electrical wiring and the need to integrate new and old energy system components. Further complicating the process was the importance of completing the work while minimizing disruption to Court and museum operations, which continued throughout the upgrades.
From 2010 to 2016, the County upgraded major energy components at the Courthouse. The most significant energy savings retrofit measures, prioritized by energy saved, included:
Project Size: 25,000 square feet.
Annual Energy Use
Baseline (2009): 252 kBtu/sq. ft.
Actual (2016): 177 kBtu/sq. ft.
Energy Savings: 30%
Annual Energy Cost
Baseline (2009): $89,000
Actual (2016): $76,000
Cost Savings: $13,000
Equipment for the lighting projects was provided by the local Energy Watch Program, which is funded through electric rate public goods charges. Placer County used its own Facility Services employees for the installation.
Since the mid-1990s, Placer County has been working actively to increase County building efficiency and reduce energy costs. With participation in PG&E’s Local Government Energy Efficiency Partnerships, the California Energy Commission’s Energy Partnership Program, and significant contribution and commitment to the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant Program, Placer County continues to make notable progress towards reducing the energy costs and carbon footprint of county facilities. These energy conservation measures, implemented in many Placer County buildings, save Placer County approximately $1 million in annual energy costs and support the County’s commitment to sustainability, responsible building management, and accountability to taxpayers.
April 4, 2017