Monday, May 18, 2009

Saving $$$, Reducing Energy Usage of County Buildings

At our staff meeting this morning, we received a great update on steps the County is taking to be more energy efficient (and save $$$) as a government--specifically, in the way we operate our facilities/buildings.

As background, by far our biggest use of energy as a County comes from the operation of our buildings and facilities. Operating jails, courthouses, large administrative buildings and offices, engineers' garages, and the like, which comprise the daily workplace of thousands of employees, takes up a whole lot of energy. So when we assessed County government's carbon footprint several years back, it was not a big surprise that by far the biggest source of our carbon footprint was our buildings.

So improving the energy efficiency of our facilities is the most important step we can take to reduce our County's carbon footprint. Which is why the good news from today is so important. A couple highlights:
  • In 2008, we reduced our green house gas emissions by 2,715 tons in 2008. This means we have reduced our total emissions 7% since 1997.
  • One building, 800 Broadway, qualified for an EPA Energy Star Award in 2008--the first and only government office building in the state of Ohio to do so. Through increased automation and technology, better scheduling of energy usage, and some other steps, the operation of energy systems of this building has become a state model.
  • Numerous steps and individual projects our Facilities Departments has taken to increase energy efficiency and reduce electrical usage decreased energy costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2008 alone. At this time of budget challenges, these savings are incredibly important.

The best news? In the coming months, we will be rolling out many more steps to do even better--and there are new resources (federal Energy Efficiency Block Grants) that will allow us to make even more upgrades, and save even more taxpayer dollars on operations every year.

As we work with all jurisdictions in the County to reduce their carbon footprint, it's great that we have an in-house case study of improvement to point to.

Thanks to our Facilities Department for leading the charge on this important issue.


The Dean of Cincinnati said...

So you have saved less energy than is used by a streetcar?

Anonymous said...

Cut off the cable TV in the jail & cut off the air con in the jail cells. That'll save a bundle. There are people in this county who have neither of these luxuries that is now taken for granted.

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