County of Marin - Press Releases - Marin Center Sustainability

For Immediate Release
November 14, 2013

Milestones Reached in Greening of Marin Center

Solar panels, HVAC upgrades, ‘deep green’ power cut electricity costs

San Rafael, CAThe transformation of Marin Center into a model of electrical efficiency among performing arts / fairgrounds / conference centers has continued with several notable upgrades over the past five years. The San Rafael facility, operated by the Marin County Department of Cultural and Visitor Services, saw a 26 percent reduction in electricity consumption from 2006 to 2012, and that number will only increase with addition of heating and air conditioning upgrades in 2013.

When the carbon-free electricity from the Marin Center’s 205-kilowatt solar array is included, the facility is requiring 57 percent less grid-connected electricity over the past six years.

There’s more: Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Showcase Theatre, Exhibit Hall and the rest of the Marin Center facility at the County fairgrounds have been powered by MCE Clean Energy’s “deep green” electricity as of June 2013.

“We are proud of the County of Marin’s commitment to powering our facilities with renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Marin County Board of Supervisors President Judy Arnold. “This multiyear effort by three county departments – the Department of Public Works, the Community Development Agency and the Department of Cultural and Visitor Services – is a great example of collaboration and innovation. The County’s leadership in sustainability and seeking viable energy solutions is exemplary.”

Here is a closer look at recent projects:

  • The effort really took shape starting in 2008 when a 744-panel Schott solar array was installed on the roof of the Exhibit Hall building as part of the Marin County Fair’s “Greenest County Fair On Earth” theme. The panels generate about 310,000 kilowatt hours of energy, or 42 percent of the year-round kilowatt usage at the Marin Center campus. The solar array prevents emissions of 55.3 metric tons of equivalent carbon dioxide each year.
  • Over a six-year period, new heating, ventilation and air conditioning units were installed throughout Marin Center through the leadership of the Department of Public Works and Community Development Agency Sustainability Team. Energy-efficient units were installed in the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Showcase Theatre, Exhibition Hall and most recently the meeting rooms in October 2013. Low-interest loans from the California Energy Commission partially funded the improvements.
  • The MCE Clean Energy “deep green” program supplies power to the Exhibit Hall building from renewable energy resources. All electricity that is not generated directly from the on-site solar array is now a carbon-free wind product.

Marin Center campus electrical usage cut from 1 million kilowatts in 2006 to 742,000 kWh by 2012, a reduction of 26 percent.  Including the solar array, the County eliminated the need for more than 575,000 kWh of grid power (57 percent of 2006 consumption) through energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Choosing electricity generated from renewable resources, generating electricity from the solar array and conserving electricity through efficiency measures demonstrate the County of Marin’s significant pledge to sustainability.

“We live in a part of the country that is renowned for its public commitment to sustainable living, and we’ve tried to lead by example,” said Jim Farley, Director of the County’s Department of Cultural and Visitor Services. “It’s not only the right thing to do for the environment, but it saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.”

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Gabriella C. Calicchio
Department of Cultural Services

Marin Center
10 Avenue of the Flags
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6400
Email: Gabriella C. Calicchio
Cultural Services Website