SoCalGas Celebrates Opening of New LEED-Certified Regional Base in Bakersfield

Net-zero energy building includes a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station for heavy-duty trucks near Highways 99 and 65, plus employee training facility and customer demonstration center

Jul 15, 2019

BAKERSFIELD, July 15, 2019 – Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the opening of a new net-zero energy building which will serve as its regional base. The building earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for its environmental benefits, which include a photovoltaic solar energy system, storm water management, drought-resistant and climate-appropriate landscaping, the use of natural lighting for the wellness of employees and a super energy-efficient air conditioning system power by natural gas instead of electricity.  Photos of the ribbon cutting ceremony are available here.

The 31,000 square-foot building is located at 35118 McMurtrey Avenue in Bakersfield near the connection of Highways 99 and 65. It includes an employee training facility and customer demonstration center, plus a separate storage building, garage, photovoltaic solar energy system and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station for company and public use. Opening in the fall, the CNG station will make it easier for truck drivers to fuel up with clean natural gas instead of diesel. SoCalGas plans to dispense 100 percent renewable natural gas at the fueling station when it opens.

“This new LEED-certified building is designed to be net-zero energy, meaning the total energy used by the building will be roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site from its photovoltaic energy system,” said Estela de Llanos, vice president of operations support and sustainability and chief environmental officer at SoCalGas. “In addition, the new facility’s Customer Demonstration Center will exhibit some of the many emerging gas technologies, created with SoCalGas support, that deliver meaningful greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”

“SoCalGas has provided reliable natural gas to Kern County and the surrounding counties for decades, and this new location near Highways 99 and 65 is ideal for continuing that good service to more than 100,000 Kern County homes and businesses,” said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh.

“One of my favorite things about this new facility is that it will have a renewable natural gas fueling station for trucks traveling Highways 99 and 65,” said David Couch, Kern County Supervisor (District 4) and a member of the Governing Board of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. “Using renewable natural gas—more and more of which will be created in the San Joaquin Valley—helps not only reduce methane emissions from agriculture, dairy and other sources, but will improve air quality and the health of people in Kern County.”  

SoCalGas employees housed at the new facility will serve more than 100,000 homes and businesses across a region of more than 7,500 square miles and maintain more than 1,700 miles of natural gas pipeline. Construction began in April 2018 and was completed earlier this month. Employees will begin working from this location next week.

SoCalGas is a leader in developing and investing in technologies that reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to offer renewable natural gas to its 21 million customers in Central and Southern California. The program is part of SoCalGas' overall vision to be the cleanest natural gas utility in North America. As part of this plan, the utility committed to displacing 20 percent of its natural gas supply with RNG by 2030 and replacing five percent of the traditional gas supply with RNG by 2022.

Research shows that replacing about 20 percent of California's natural gas supply with RNG would lower emissions equal to retrofitting every building in the state to run on electric only energy and at a fraction of the cost. Using RNG in buildings can be two to three times less expensive than any all-electric strategy and does not require families or businesses to purchase new appliances or take on costly construction projects.

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 21.8 million customers across 24,000 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 45 percent of electric power generated in the state comes from gas-fired power plants.  

SoCalGas’ vision is to be the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to its customers. In support of that vision, SoCalGas is committed to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by dairy farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its natural gas system infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for our customers. From 2014 through 2018, the company invested nearly $6.5 billion to upgrade and modernize its natural gas system to enhance safety and reliability. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), an 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.  

For further information: Vanessa Skillman, Office of Media and Public Information, (213) 244-2442, vskillman@semprautilities.com