Walking into the Ontario Convention Center, one might first notice large windows showcasing the best of Southern California’s sunshine over swaying palm trees. Nestled just outside of Los Angeles and Orange counties, the Convention Center is a popular destination for special events, such as Comic Con, tournaments and conferences. With the City-owned facility bringing in hundreds of thousands of performers and tourists each year, few would suspect that it has some of the most outdated infrastructure and highest operating costs of all of Ontario’s facilities.

Fortunately, the City’s latest energy efficiency initiative, deemed “Smart Ontario,” is changing that.

Smart Ontario calls for new energy efficient infrastructure citywide with Ontario’s Convention Center getting the most work done. From an all-new centralized heating and cooling plant, modernized air handling units, smart building controls, interior and exterior LED lighting and new parking structures with roof-mounted solar panels, the Convention Center will soon use less energy than it has in decades.

“Our utility bills have historically been sky-high because, before Smart Ontario, we were running on technologies far past their useful life and for far too long,” the president and CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau, Michael Krouse, commented. “The differences from these improvements are already like night and day.”

The Convention Center is just one of several City facilities undergoing modernization through the Smart Ontario program, which is projected to save over $75 million in operational and capital expenditures. Smart Ontario is also set to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10,000 tons annually, which is equivalent to 1,850 cars being removed from the road and amounts to enough energy to power 1,322 homes in Ontario each year.

“The repairs, replacements and additions we’re making through Smart Ontario is a long-term investment that’s going to keep money in taxpayer pockets. It will ensure the City spends less on repairs and resources to keep the lights on–literally,” commented Ontario Mayor Paul S. Leon. “The Ontario Convention Center was one of our largest energy users, so this evolution is incredibly exciting.”

City Manager Scott Ochoa added, “Ontario is on its way to becoming the premier city of the Inland Empire with the smart and sustainable infrastructure and programs that we’re pursuing. That’s something every Ontario resident and business owner can be proud to be a part of.”