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Howard County Efficiency Projects

Light­ing Retrofits

Light­ing is one of the sin­gle largest uses of energy in Howard County facil­i­ties. This is true for almost all build­ing types and uses. The sav­ing from updat­ing light­ing and replac­ing old and bro­ken lights with new, effi­cient ones can be sub­stan­tial. Four-foot flu­o­res­cent lamps are the light­ing “work­horses” of office space. The poten­tial energy sav­ings for upgrad­ing them ranges from about 6 to 38 percent.

The County accom­plished facil­ity light­ing retro­fits through its energy per­for­mance con­tract and con­tin­ues to pur­sue upgrades with the costs reduced by var­i­ous grants and rebates.

Hybrid Vehi­cles

Howard County gov­ern­ment has had suc­cess phas­ing in hybrid vehi­cles into the work fleet and the bus sys­tem. It is now County pol­icy to phase in hybrid vehi­cles for all vehi­cles in the fleet that have an equiv­a­lent hybrid on the mar­ket. To date the County owns 50 hybrid vehi­cles, about 15% of the vehi­cle fleet. Howard County has the largest hybrid fleet of any juris­dic­tion in the state. The esti­mated sav­ings from hybrids is $1,000 per vehi­cle per year in fuel costs.

Howard County also incor­po­rated 2 diesel-electric hybrid buses into the Howard Tran­sit ser­vice. The County antic­i­pates that the hybrid buses will reduce fuel con­sump­tion by about 35% and reduce main­te­nance and repair costs by 30% to 50% com­pared to sim­i­lar diesel buses.

LED Traf­fic Lights

Howard County has con­verted all of the traf­fic lights on County roads to LED (light emit­ting diode) lights. LED lights use dra­mat­i­cally less energy than incan­des­cent lights. Based on the first year after the con­ver­sion of all 85 inter­sec­tions, the lights are using 60% less energy.

Energy Effi­ciency Block Grant

In 2009, Howard County was awarded over $2.6 mil­lion in stim­u­lus grant funds as part of the Energy Effi­ciency and Con­ser­va­tion Block Grants Pro­gram. With the help of the grant, the County has imple­mented many energy effi­ciency pro­grams to save money and decrease green­house gas emis­sions. Some of the projects included a free home energy audit pro­gram, pur­chas­ing energy effi­cient light­ing, and pur­chas­ing energy effi­cient vehi­cles. The grant also funded hir­ing an Energy Man­ager for 2 years.

Energy Per­for­mance Contracts

An energy per­for­mance con­tract (EPC) is a way to finance energy-saving improve­ments. An EPC uses an inno­v­a­tive three-part partnership:

1. A ser­vice provider iden­ti­fies, engi­neers, and installs energy improve­ments for a client’s facility.

2. A lender pro­vides the cap­i­tal that pays for the ser­vice provider’s work.

3. Energy con­sump­tion is reduced because of the improve­ments and the energy sav­ings are used to pay for the upgrade. After the invest­ment is paid for, the orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to save money.

An EPC has sev­eral advan­tages, includ­ing access to cutting-edge energy tech­nolo­gies and exper­tise, long term energy sav­ings, and the abil­ity to improve energy effi­ciency with­out incur­ring a large up-front expense.

In 2008, Howard County Gov­ern­ment entered the first phase of an energy per­for­mance con­tract. The scope of this agree­ment cov­ered seven County facil­i­ties (Dorsey Build­ing, Cen­tral Library, East Colum­bia Library, Recre­ation & Parks Head­quar­ters, Deten­tion Cen­ter, Gate­way Build­ing, Scaggsville Pub­lic Safety Cen­ter). The County’s energy per­for­mance con­tract for these seven build­ings cre­ated over $238,000 in energy sav­ings dur­ing cal­en­dar year 2010. This was an eight per­cent reduc­tion in cost!

Coop­er­a­tive Energy Purchasing

In the wake of Mary­land util­ity dereg­u­la­tion, a new and com­plex mar­ket for elec­tric­ity and nat­ural gas emerged. Howard County Gov­ern­ment and School Board have both enrolled in the Bal­ti­more Regional Coop­er­a­tive Pur­chas­ing Com­mit­tee (BRCPC) in order to man­age their energy pur­chases. Man­aged by the Bal­ti­more Met­ro­pol­i­tan Coun­cil, this pro­cure­ment coop­er­a­tive serves Bal­ti­more City, Anne Arun­del, Bal­ti­more, Car­roll, Har­ford and Howard counties.

BRCPC cre­ates a num­ber of ben­e­fits includ­ing advice from experts, dis­counts due to the increased vol­ume of demand, and a hedge against price volatility.

Green Tip

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