The New Jackie Robinson Family YMCA – A Shining Example of Energy Efficiency

The newly rebuilt Jackie Robinson YMCA (JRYMCA) in southeastern San Diego is not only a source of renewed community pride and a haven for youth and families, it’s also a shining example of sustainability and energy efficiency.

At SDG&E, we share the pride the community feels toward the new Y, as we played a role in the project and have a long history of partnership with the JRYMCA—an institution that’s been serving southeastern San Diego for more than 70 years.

Before a shovel of dirt was turned on the project, SDG&E’s Savings by Design team worked closely with the JRYMCA project team to incorporate energy efficiency features into the 45,000-square-foot facility. Thanks to those efforts, it is estimated that the Y will save more than 334,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year—enough to meet the monthly energy needs of more than 600 typical residential customers.

Our Savings by Design program provides commercial developers with up to $150,000 in incentives to implement energy efficiency measures that will result not only in monetary savings, but also a reduced carbon footprint. Each year, SDG&E disburses incentives for about 60 commercial projects. Based on the efficiency features installed at the Y, SDG&E anticipates providing the Y with nearly $110,000 to help offset project costs.

“The new Jackie Robinson Family YMCA reinforces all of the great work the Y has invested in the southeastern San Diego community for 73 years,” said Michael Brunker, JRYMCA executive director. “It will allow us to extend our reach to work tirelessly to nurture the potential of kids, improve health and well-being, and give back and support our neighbors. We are grateful to our partners like SDG&E for helping to make this dream a reality.”

A Showcase for Energy Efficiency

The state-of-the-art facility includes a fitness and wellness center, gymnasium with two basketball courts, community multi-purpose room, Kids Club, teen/technology center, member lounge, exercise studios, and much more. Energy efficiency features are built into both the interior and exterior, making the facility approximately 37 percent more efficient than what the California Building Standards Code mandates.

The major energy savings features include:

  •        LED lights (including lights in the parking lot)
  •        Glazed windows that allow in natural light but block out heat
  •        A special coating that keeps the roof cool by reflecting off heat
  •        High efficiency heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems (HVAC)
  •        Well-insulated walls
  •        Duct work to prevent air leakage

Powering the New Y

In addition to support from the Savings by Design team, SDG&E’s Business Services Division also played an important role in the project. Lydia Bentley, a senior project coordinator, helped accelerate the utility-related aspects of the project to ensure the facility will open on time – with the lights on and the gas-powered water heater working.

The Jackie Robinson YMCA will start operating regular hours on Saturday, Oct. 28. Stop by to check it out and learn more at

If you are a commercial developer and would like to learn more about Savings by Design, here. To learn more about our Business Services, visit