The utility named Palomar College for its annual Excellence in Energy Leadership Award, following the first year of operations in a highly-efficient new building complex at the San Marcos campus.

SAN MARCOS — Palomar College has won an Excellence in Energy Leadership Award from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) for its Maintenance & Operations (M&O) building, a “net-zero” project that opened in April 2019.

M&O has received national recognition since its grand opening for a variety of “passive” design features that reduce the need for heating and cooling, while utilizing daylight throughout to reduce artificial lighting. Combined with an 180 KW solar array, the design makes the facility one of the region’s most energy-efficient new projects.

“Palomar College is committed to being a leader in sustainability within our region, and we are thrilled to receive this award for our team’s dedicated work on the M&O building,” said Interim Superintendent/President Dr. Jack Kahn. “We are also grateful to SDG&E, which has been a great partner in Palomar’s pursuit of sustainability.”



In addition to the SDG&E recognition, M&O has been named a national “Best of the Best” in Green Design by Engineering News-Record (ENR) Magazine, and in 2019 it received the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s highest honor, the Malone Grand Orchid.

“The design features of the building make it extremely energy-efficient, and then we added solar panels, so the building is now actually net-positive—meaning that, over the last year, it’s produced more electricity than it’s consumed,” said Dennis Astl, Manager of Construction and Facilities Planning at Palomar. “The energy-saving design was a great first step to minimize how much solar we had to put on.”

Palomar was one of six organizations recognized by SDG&E in its recently announced “Energy Showcase 2020.”

“These winners … (have) demonstrated that investing in clean and innovative technologies not only help the environment but also benefit the bottom line,” said Tashonda Taylor, SDG&E’s vice president of customer operations. “Ultimately, their efforts help our region move closer to meeting California’s ambitious climate goals and in turn, create a sustainable future.”