July 20, 2018

SoCalGas Helps Put the "Green" in Greenhouse with New Thermal Technology at World-Renowned Houweling's Tomatoes


New energy-efficient upgrade will save more than 225,000 therms per year - the equivalent of removing more than 250 cars from California roads.


LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and world-renowned greenhouse tomato and cucumber producer, Houweling's Tomatoes, today announced the installation of a new greenhouse thermal curtain system at Houweling's facility in Camarillo, California. The thermal curtain system is designed to reduce heat loss at night, functioning as a thermal barrier between the plants and the roof of the greenhouse, and is estimated to save the grower more than 225,000 therms per year, the equivalent of removing more than 250 cars from California roads. The system also works to reduce the volume of air that requires heating inside the greenhouse, and will provide the customer with approximately $80,000 in annual energy cost savings. The new greenhouse energy efficiency upgrade was purchased in part with a $176,000 rebate check through SoCalGas' Energy Efficiency Rebates for Businesses (EERB) program. To date, the utility has supported Houweling's Tomatoes energy efficiency efforts with more than $725,000 in rebate funding for energy- and cost-saving technologies.

Representatives from Houweling's Tomatoes show SoCalGas leadership the new greenhouse thermal curtain system, designed to reduce heat loss at night, was purchased in part with a $176,000 rebate check through SoCalGas’ Energy Efficiency Rebates for Businesses (EERB) program.

Photos of the facility and the new energy-efficient upgrade are available here.  

"Energy efficiency innovations, like these thermal curtains, help our customers save on energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change," said Rasha Prince, director of commercial and industrial services at SoCalGas. "Houweling's is a true leader in sustainability and partnerships like this can go a long way toward achieving California's climate goals, while supporting great industries and good jobs across the state."

"SoCalGas' energy efficiency rebate programs have been instrumental to the success of our business," said Casey Houweling, owner and chairman of Houweling's Tomatoes. "SoCalGas has been a dedicated partner to Houweling's, not only in helping us move forward with projects we otherwise may not have been able to, but in helping us create the most efficient greenhouse operation in the country."

Through SoCalGas' EERB program, commercial, industrial, and agricultural customers of the utility can apply for energy efficiency rebates on qualifying energy-efficient, natural gas-fired equipment and improvements for the business, like commercial grade dishwashers, ovens, clothes washers, space-heating and other boilers, water heaters, steam traps, and other energy-saving equipment, that help offset a portion of the cost up to $1,000,000 per customer, per year.

SoCalGas has been a long-time energy efficiency partner of Houweling's Tomatoes, working together on many projects. In 2011, the utility helped the greenhouse leader fund the installation of the first-ever cogeneration power system in the United States that uses combined heat and power technology to capture traditionally wasted CO2, heat, and water for use within the greenhouse, while large natural gas-powered engines produce enough electricity to power the full operation and 8,800 local homes. In total, the new 13.2-megawatt system saves Houweling's over 14,000 gallons of water every day, and has diverted more than 21,000 tons of CO2 emissions – the equivalent of taking 4,000 cars off the road – by converting it into fertilizer. 

Energy efficiency programs and rebates are just one way SoCalGas helps business and residential customers keep their energy bills affordable. Since 1990, the utility's energy efficiency and rebate programs have reduced emissions equal to taking almost 700,000 cars off the road and have saved SoCalGas customers more than $670 million in utility bill costs. Moreover, because of energy efficiency measures and new innovative technology, business and homes account for only about 7.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions statewide, according to the California Air Resources Board. SoCalGas offers more than 90 energy efficiency programs that have delivered $161 million in cost savings over the past five years directly to its customers.

SoCalGas is a leader in researching and developing new technologies that improve energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and keep bills affordable for customers. The utility is working to increase the production and use of renewable natural gas, or biogas, which turns methane emissions into a source of clean energy to fuel homes and businesses. Decarbonizing natural gas pipelines with renewable natural gas will help California obtain deep greenhouse gas reductions at the lowest overall cost while preserving energy choice for residents and businesses alike. Learn more about the environmental and cost-saving benefits of renewable natural gas by viewing the utility's latest video, Digesting the Facts About Renewable Natural Gas, on SoCalGas' YouTube Channel.

Natural gas is the most affordable, reliable, clean, and increasingly renewable energy choice for home and water heating and cooking in Southern California and is used by more than 90 percent of residents in the region. According to the American Gas Association (AGA), households that use natural gas for water and space heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications.

About SoCalGas
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, clean and increasingly renewable natural gas service to 21.7 million customers across 22,000 square miles of Central and Southern California, where more than 90 percent of residents use natural gas for heating, hot water, cooking, drying clothes or other uses. Natural gas delivered through the company's pipelines also plays a key role in providing electricity to Californians—about 60 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.  

SoCalGas is committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure, while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2013 through 2017, the company spent nearly $6 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. The company is also committed to being a leader in the region's clean energy future, and is working to accelerate the use of renewable natural gas from dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants and the development of renewable energy storage technologies. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook


About Southern California Gas Co.: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 145 years. It is the nation's largest natural gas distribution utility, providing service to 21.6 million consumers connected through 5.9 million meters in more than 500 communities. The company's service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border. SoCalGas is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE), a Fortune 500 energy services holding company based in San Diego.

SOURCE Southern California Gas Company

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Fiorella Canedo, Office of Media & Public Information, Desk (213) 244-4162, Mobile (213) 276-9582, [email protected]