Broward County's nationally recognized Energy and Building Automation Section is at the forefront promoting and implementing energy efficiency within county operations. With annual spending on electricity near $17 million, our main focus is to reduce those costs through energy conservation programs. Investments of more than $8 million in upgrades have resulted in annual cost savings of more than $1.5 million which translate into savings for the residents of Broward County.
Energy Star Label for Buildings
In January 2000, we qualified Broward County's North Regional Courthouse as the first Energy Star Label for Buildings for a public office building in the state of Florida. The annual environmental achievements are equal to 4,252 cars removed from the road or the planting of 5,825 acres of trees.
Governmental Center Annex is Second County Facility to Earn Energy Star Label
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have established Energy Star criteria for commercial buildings based on benchmarking energy consumption on a 1-to-100 scale. Buildings that are among the top 25 percent nationwide in terms of energy performance (earning a benchmarking score of 75 or greater) and maintain an indoor environment that conforms to industry standards can qualify to receive the Energy Star label. The Government Center Annex scored 81 (which makes it in the top 20 percent) to recently qualify for the label and listed on EPA's Web page along with other featured buildings throughout the country.
- To promote our efforts, we serve as guest speakers at professional functions and provide training to County employees. On the local level, we are active in such organizations as the Gold Coast Clean Cities Coalition. Our involvement with this and other local groups promotes alternative vehicle fuels and energy efficiency throughout the Southeast Florida region. Building our relationship with the community through effective public outreach programs sends a strong economic development message for all of Broward County.
- To remain up-to-date on all the latest technology, we develop energy-related expertise through further education and training. The Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) is one of the organizations we look to for this professional development. Locally, we maintain an active role in the Southeast Florida Chapter of AEE, which offers a number of informative programs and networking opportunities. We also maintain memberships in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA).
Some Facts About Broward County's Energy
- Since 1994, more than 3.7 million square feet of Broward County Commission (Florida) facilities have taken part in some type of energy-related upgrade. These investments in energy efficiency of more than $10 million are reducing annual energy consumption by 100.5 million kBtu and resulting in annual cost savings of more than $1.5 million.
- In addition to the facility upgrades, an investment was made to retrofit incandescent traffic signals with light emitting diode (LED) technology that is resulting in an additional annual energy savings of near $1 million and using 12 million kWh less each year.
- Amount of pollution prevention using EPA Emission Factors from actual reduction of energy usage related to these efforts equals 126,882,202 pounds of CO2 (greenhouse), 485,691,370 grms. of SO2 (acid rain), and 210,063,158 grms. of NO x (smog) every year or the environmental equivalent of removing 12,688 cars from the road or planting 17,382 acres of trees.
- Since 1988, 236 alternative fuel vehicles have been introduced into the general fleet with drivers logging more than 3.8 million miles while utilizing compressed natural gas, propane and electricity as a fuel which cumulatively represents more than $110,000 in fuel cost savings, 820,000 pounds of emission reductions and about 230,000 gallons of gasoline displaced.
- Through a central database, we track and report on energy usage and cost for more than 800 separate electric utility accounts and utilize Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to transfer account information and payments electronically.
- Beyond implementing projects, we manage a system to ensure continued success of our efforts directed to more than 6,000 people that work within Broward County agencies and provide services for a population over 1.7 million. Outreach efforts increase visibility and viability of energy efficiency. Through improvements and updates to the Energy and Building Automation Section Web pages, information regarding our programs and investments in new technologies reaches the entire world.
- We maintain active partnerships/memberships and take on leading roles with the following organizations: EPA’s Energy Star Buildings, DOE’s Clean Cities Coalition, U.S. Green Building Council, National Fire Protection Association, the State of Florida Governor’s Clean Fuel Florida Initiative, the Association of Energy Engineers, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers and the Illuminating Engineering Society.
- As a participant in EPA's Energy Star Buildings program, Broward County was honored as the 1999 Government Partner of the Year. The first Energy Star label for a public facility in Florida was awarded to Broward County's North Regional Courthouse in January 2000.
- Staff regularly promotes energy efficiency and environmental benefits as guest speakers at local, regional and national conferences and trade shows providing ‘best practices’ examples. Also on a regular basis, staff submits and has published articles relating to our energy efficiency ‘best practices’ such as the one appearing in the November 26, 2001, County Environmental Reporter.
- To increase awareness to County employees, a quarterly electronic newsletter was created and distributed to about 4,000 employees via our email system. At the bottom of each edition, a graphic displays current miles driven on alternative fuels and pollution prevention from building upgrades as reported to the EPA.
- Often, we sponsor events such as the National Clean Cities Coalition Conference, U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Workshops, DOE’s Renew America National Town meeting video teleconferences, clean air events and Earth Day festivities.
- The County’s Procurement Code includes language that ensures the purchase of energy-efficient equipment for all agencies modeled from the guidelines provided by the Energy Star program.
- Through participation in Envinta’s One to Five Energy Diagnostic Program, Broward County scored three stars and set the highest overall score among the more than 30 other local governments already participating.
- In the December 1998 issue of Energy User News, our East Regional Library received their annual Energy Efficient Building Award. On other occasions, our energy efficiency efforts have been formally recognized by the Clean Cities Coalition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Association of Counties, Renew America, the Association of Energy Engineers and the American Public Works Association.
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