Press Release: Showcase Features the IEUA



November 17, 2008 - The California Sustainability Alliance, a market transformation program managed by Navigant Consulting, Inc. (NYSE: NCI), launched its Sustainability Showcase award program today, recognizing the Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) as an outstanding leader in sustainability.  The Sustainability Showcase has been established to highlight the efforts of organizations in the State of California paving the way towards California’s sustainable future.

IEUA distinguishes itself every day by consistently implementing its mission to provide water and wastewater services to its customers in an environmentally responsible manner.  In addition, IEUA’s Board of Directors views the Agency’s role much more broadly by leading the region to long-term water and energy self-sufficiency while continually seeking improvements to the region’s environmental quality and economic stability.

IEUA is committed to water conservation, water recycling, groundwater management, renewable energy, energy conservation, comprehensive biosolids management, and overall environmental stewardship in partnership with the communities it serves. Leading by example, the Agency’s Board of Directors approved the use of the LEED design criteria for IEUA’s Headquarters facility to showcase how integrated, sustainably-designed buildings can create a better environment, conserve energy, improve productivity, and contribute to the restoration of historic landscapes.

Since its formation in 1950, IEUA has become a national leader in recycled water, organic composting and renewable energy. “We’ve tried to be at the leading edge on a variety of fronts … it’s a matter of integrating a green approach to our business practices. That is why the agency built a Platinum LEED ’green‘ building.

IEUA is the first public agency in the country to build to the Platinum standard. We did it because we believe in conservation and knew it was a good business practice. And it is serving as a model for other public agencies throughout the nation,” states Martha Davis, Executive Manager of Policy Development.  General Manager Richard Atwater views the Headquarters building as a “catalyst of visionary and practical achievements.  In setting this standard, it has helped IEUA build environmental awareness with community developers, cities, and customers.”

IEUA has achieved an admirable balance between fostering a creative environment and managing operational risks.  IEUA’s Board and Management are strongly committed to sustainability within the organization.  IEUA’s culture of open communications encourages its staff to continually seek improvement and to propose ideas that will raise opportunities for the organization to operate more efficiently.

IEUA’s innovative and environmental excellence has resulted in a diverse portfolio of projects and programs. Instead of viewing the region’s dairy manure as a disposal problem, IEUA developed a unique management program that reduces air and water quality impacts from the region’s dairy industry by producing biogas for electricity from dairy manure.  The electricity is used to desalt brackish groundwater, providing a reliable local source of potable water.  In 2005, IEUA sold the first Greenhouse Gas Credits ever generated through "Cow Power" in California. IEUA was also the first to sell renewable energy credits from California cow power.

In addition to participating in multiple regulatory and policy forums, IEUA takes a proactive role in shaping policy at both the local and national level.  As an example, IEUA co-sponsored California's first legislation that authorized "net metering" for energy produced by "cow power", and was the first agency to use the new net metering program.

IEUA believes that there are significant opportunities for wastewater and water agencies to save energy by producing renewable energy, reducing the need for additional electricity from other (mostly fossil) sources and significantly reducing GHG emissions.  IEUA currently self-provides 60 percent of the total energy it uses and has a goal to be 100 percent energy self-sufficient within five years.  IEUA is presently focusing on new solar generation development, additional biogas-fueled generation, and expansion of energy efficiency programs.

Regional water supply leader in recognizing Southern California’s heavy reliance on imported water supplies that use tremendous amounts of electricity to pump water from northern California, IEUA knew it needed to focus on both water and energy as a solution.  IEUA also realized that meeting these challenges would require vision, strong leadership and tough policy decisions.  IEUA met these challenges head on and has set new industry standards for water sustainability and green innovation, and has consistently demonstrated a willingness to explore new strategies with protection of the environment at the forefront of every decision.

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