The City of Ontario continues full steam ahead with “Smart Ontario,” an initiative improving safety, efficiency and connectivity through the modernization of energy infrastructure at 26 facilities, including the Ontario Convention Center and Toyota Arena.

When construction broke ground in late 2020, energy and operational savings were estimated to exceed $75 million over the life of the new equipment and greenhouse gas reduced by more than 10,000 tons annually.

As the project nears completion, Smart Ontario is well on its way to fulfilling initial projections. During the 2021 construction calendar year Ontario reported reducing energy use by nearly 4.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh), saving the City over $750,000. These exceptional savings results will continue to grow as project components are completed and put into service, including HVAC replacements, LED streetlights, solar photovoltaics and battery energy storage systems (some of which require SCE approvals prior to operation).

“The energy savings during construction have exceeded our expectations. What’s most exciting is that this is just the beginning,” said Ontario Mayor Paul Leon. “Replacing our outdated infrastructure to create smart and sustainable facilities serves a multifaceted purpose. Not only are we preserving taxpayer dollars, but we are also creating a cleaner environment for our community to proudly live, work and play in.”

Solar panels and solar-powered pool heaters create renewable energy sources and EV charging stations and backup battery energy storage systems further build energy independence. Smart Ontario also added high efficiency LED lighting inside and outside of buildings and parks, including all city-owned streetlights, as well as high efficiency HVAC units and controls.

The Convention Center’s HVAC system upgrades have already reduced annual utility consumption by almost 450,000 kWh and 8,300 therms of natural gas, while the Toyota Arena has dropped usage by over 1,300,000 kWh and 35,000 therms. Once construction is fully completed and solar installations come online, grid-purchased power will further reduce Ontario’s grid power energy usage and cost.

The City secured more than $30+ million in funding to roll out Smart Ontario from the California Energy Commission Energy Conservation Assistance Act (ECAA), California Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) and private sector funding at historically low interest rates.

“The City of Ontario is paving the way towards a brighter, sustainable future in Southern California’s Inland Empire,” said Jeff Bartel, business development manager at Climatec, the energy and building technologies provider supporting Ontario’s program. “Climatec has enjoyed being part of Ontario’s unwavering commitment to sustainability.”