Energy Case Study: Local government saves $33,500 (14.47% in 19 buildings) in just 6 months due to ongoing budget shortfalls
In September 2008 a property tax payer read the local headlines - "Tax revenues expected to decline by $4M in Fiscal 09" The local government was spending over $500,000 on grid-based electric utilities to heat, cool, and operate 32 buildings. Some new (5 years or less), some old (over 50), and most in-between (10-25). With tight budgets NO funds were available to upgrade equipment. Within 6 months 19 of the 32 buildings reduced their kWh usage by almost 15%!
However, 13 buildings increased consumption and became the control group for the few naysayers who said that changing weather patterns deserved credit for the reduced energy usage!
The project continues with emphasis on those buildings that are still increasing electric utility usage and much higher costs as time passes. Funds were found (fall '09) to upgrade HVAC commercial equipment where age and reliability problems had surfaced.
1) The benefits to the Board of Supervisors and other elected officials are obvious - Less cutbacks / layoffs as energy-related expenses decrease.
2) Staff motivated to review other areas for improvement - not always an easy task in government entities.
3) Tax payers appreciate the efforts to reduce energy costs.
4) Finally awakening to the economics of finite versus renewable energies the School Board has approved renovation of a 45 year old high school that includes eco-friendly energy sources and awarded a $1.5M architectural contract in late 2009.
Leading by example is the new paradigm. Governments and schools are historically slow to change. The renewable energy economy is possible and creates new jobs for every level of our changing (a good thing) society. Rate of change needs to increase.
Are you on board? The train is about to leave the station! Time is critical. We all need a sense of urgency similar to the radical changes that took place in 1941 as the US economy transformed from peace to wartime requirements in less than 12 months.