All too often, the mention of Arizona brings to mind heat, Phoenix and Tucson, and hot deserts. The state also has mountains, forests, and rivers, but those are almost forgotten by the outside world. It also has energy-saving projects that aren’t only solar.

Sierra Vista, a city of 45,000 or so southeast of Tucson, 35 miles from the Mexican border, is nestled in the Coronado National Forest, hardly a desert landscape. Known as the hummingbird capital of the United States, it hosts a full schedule of festivals for bird, music, and art lovers alike.

The city wants to build on the benefits of its locale with upgraded facilities and ongoing development, bringing more tourism and allowing relocating military families—Fort Huachuca army base borders the city—to feel at home in and have a sense of pride in their new city. To achieve this, the city is addressing more than just public building infrastructure.

Across public buildings city-wide, Schneider Electric will be replacing close to 3,000 interior light fixtures with high-efficiency LEDs in addition to another 484 exterior LED fixtures. Significant HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) upgrades will be happening at Sierra Vista’s aquatic center, The Cove, along with high efficiency replacements at city hall and the police department. In addition, The Cove will be replacing an old inoperable wave machine with a new state-of-the-art system—making Sierra Vista one of only two municipalities in the state with this truly unique community attraction.

Sierra Vista is paying for the upgrades through an energy performance contract with Schneider Electric that eliminates the need for outside funding. Increasing efficiencies through upgrades and generating additional revenue through sports tourism and The Cove allows the city to redirect funding toward higher-priority areas like economic development instead of growing utility costs.

Schneider Electric recently entered into an ESPC (energy savings performance contract) with Fort Huachuca. The $24 million project includes a four-megawatt combined heat and power plant driven by natural gas that will offer benefits by capturing heat from electricity generation that would otherwise be wasted and is using it to serve thermal loads. The project will serve as the foundation for a future microgrid solution for Fort Huachuca, serving more than 18,000 active duty soldiers, military family members, civilian employees, and contractors on post during the week.

In addition to the city hall, police department, and The Cove improvements, Schneider Electric will implement other efficiency measures at various sites, including synthetic turf solution at five soccer fields–saving water, providing year-round athletic play, and replacing 454 HID sports field lighting fixtures with high-efficiency Musco LEDs at 17 fields and courts across the city,

Construction began in June 2019 and is anticipated to wrap up in March 2020 with an expected project lifecycle savings and revenue generation of more than $20 million.

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