With Earth Day right around the corner it seemed appropriate to share an update on the status of the City’s energy conservation efforts.
Thanks to some tips from Kent State University, about 4 years ago the City hired an engineering firm that specializes in helping clients reduce their energy consumption through smart technology investments that promised to replace the old energy hogs that are still rattling around in City buildings with modern, lean and mean high efficiency units.
From lighting to heating and air conditioning, the professional firm put City building utilities through an audit ringer and came out the other side with a list of units that needed to be upgraded ASAP. The firm produced some excellent spreadsheets that ran the numbers out 5-10 years and showed how the City’s front end investment in upgrades would pay off in 5-7 years from utility bill savings.
Looking at reducing our carbon footprint and saving money the City jumped on board with both feet. It turns out we timed our jump just right and before our feet hit the deck running we found a couple of grant sources, including Federal stimulus dollars, that paid our up-front costs on our behalf — leaving us to enjoy immediate savings on our City utility bills from day one.
It’s been a couple of years since the energy firm roamed the halls replacing light bulbs, thermostats and anything else that they could find along the way that wasn’t bolted down and the City has watched our bills drop more each year as the technology upgrades went online.
The City’s Public Service Director sent around a couple of nice summary charts that illustrated the success of the City’s energy conservation efforts:
If you spent time digging through the specific data you’d find utility savings in every City building but with the Water Plant and Water Reclamation Plant consuming 70% of the total energy demand in City buildings the biggest bang for our buck came at those facilities.
City staff are proud to be adding to Kent’s environmental legacy with these energy improvements. Maybe it’s time to pull out the pair of 1970’s faded bell bottoms with the “First City to Recycle in Ohio” patch on it and add a badge for energy conservation.