Looking ahead at energy reduction efforts
- Implementation of utility bill tracking will allow more precise data, reports, charts and graphs to illustrate successes and challenges of reducing energy consumption
- In 2013, movable submeters will be stationed throughout the city to measure energy use in specific parts of city buildings at specific times of day. This will help the city target reduction efforts.
- Building automation systems will allow city facility temperatures to be remotely controlled, allowing for greater energy management, quicker response to issues, more precise scheduling of maintenance activities and increased temperature comfort for building occupants.
- The city recently purchased two thermal imaging cameras, which can detect areas of cooling and heating loss from the exterior of the building. These cameras will be used to target areas for improvements. Additionally, staff are able to use the thermal imaging to identify overloaded or loose circuitry without cutting into walls or climbing through crawl spaces, allowing for more efficient repairs and maintenance.
- The city will research the feasibility of alternative energy generation on city properties.
- Staff is evaluating the feasibility of transitioning streetlights to LED lighting. LED lighting uses approximately 40 percent less energy and requires less frequent bulb replacement. With approximately 8,000 city street lights, this has the potential to decrease costs of energy and maintenance significantly.
- Federal money, received through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block grant, will be used to replace parking lot lights at City Hall and the Public Safety Center with LED lighting. The new LED lights will use about 100 watts and will reduce costs by approximately 75 percent. Ultimately, the LED lights will create brighter lighting in the parking lots and will be able to dim at scheduled times during the middle of the night when the parking lot is not being used.
- Biodiesel is a blend of diesel oil and vegetable oil. It requires no change to engines or storage tanks and can be implemented at any time. Biodiesel has not been used in city vehicles, however it may be an option in the future. Considerations regarding infrastructure requirements are underway.
- GPS is a consideration for future fuel management. Web-based monitoring tools tie into a vehicles tracking system and can control, track and manage fuel and vehicle maintenance costs based on live streaming data.
- Geothermal (ground heat exchange) systems use natural cooling available deep inside the ground. When implemented at City Hall, the system will help reduce heating bills and deliver warmer air to the building in the winter. Once in place, the expected utility and maintenance costs will be about $200,000 less per year.
- The city operates nine hybrid electric vehicles and is expected to purchase additional vehicles in the future. The miles per gallon of hybrid vehicles is nearly twice that of the replaced vehicle.
- Staff in the water utility department will focus on refining operational processes, optimizing pump selection, improving timing of filling water tanks and smoothing the operations of water treatment plants to avoid large spikes in energy demand.
- The Utilities planning and engineering department is developing a long-term work plan to rehabilitate existing facilities rather than building new. This will allow the city to conserve energy by using less construction materials.
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