For a typical building, energy represents 30 percent of variable costs and constitutes the single largest controllable operating cost (National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, 2008).
Additionally, compared to a conventional building, the lifetime energy cost savings produced by an energy-efficient building can reach millions of dollars. Modifications to buildings such as installing energy-efficient lighting, windows, and heating and cooling equipment will reduce the amount of energy consumed.
According to numerous studies:
Energy cost savings on the order of 35 percent or more are possible for many existing buildings (U.S. EPA, 2008f).
Many new and renovated buildings designed for energy efficiency offer energy cost savings of as much as 50 percent when compared with conventional buildings (U.S. EPA, 2008d).
The average office building can reduce energy costs by 10 to 30 percent through low-cost energy efficiency measures and operational adjustments. At an average energy cost of $2.00 per square foot, that equates to savings of 20 to 60 cents per square foot—or $20,000 to $60,000 for a 100,000-square-foot building.
Buildings that have superior energy efficiency use 40 percent less energy than average buildings and offer savings of about $0.50 per square foot per year in lower energy costs, based on a conservative estimate (U.S. EPA, 2008d; U.S. EPA, 2006d)
Advancements in lighting industry technology and reductions in the cost of LED fixtures make retrofitting outdated street lights with LEDs a wise investment. A city-wide retrofit will result in substantial energy cost savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the long life span of LED fixtures results in reduced maintenance and repair costs as LED street lights can last for decades.
But just as many municipalities understand the huge energy savings that can be realized over time by replacing antiquated lighting systems, they have consistently been hesitant to proceed due to the high initial outlays.
Municipalities that install new lights are required to pay large upfront costs for material so regardless of the long-term benefits, updating is not always financially feasible. Municipal budgets just don’t allow for it, and many taxpayers are unwilling to pay more now for future benefits. Our plan allows municipalities to pull those costs forward and use the realized energy savings to painlessly pay for them.
The municipal energy budget remains essentially the same and at the end of the payoff period, the municipality enjoys energy savings.
Energy savings and a reduced carbon footprint are not the only reasons to convert to LED lights. Many of the older high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights are no longer being made, so the conversion will have to take place anyway as existing units reach the end of their serviceable lives. Since LEDs emit directional white light and HPS lights emit scattered yellow light, it is preferable to have all new lights than a mixture of old and new.
Our engineers can provide your municipal board with an assessment that identifies your energy waste and suggest tailored remedies tailored to address that waste without affecting your budget.
Wastewater plants and drinking water systems can account for up to one-third of a municipality’s total energy bill, so improving energy efficiency in these areas represents yet another opportunity for large cost savings.
With pumps, motors, and other equipment operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week, water and wastewater facilities can be among the largest consumers of energy in a community—and thus among the largest contributors to the community’s total budget and greenhouse gas emissions.
Of course, local governments can—and should–reduce energy use at water and wastewater facilities through measures such as water conservation, water loss prevention, storm-water reduction, and sewer system repairs to prevent groundwater filtration.
However, there are opportunities for improving energy efficiency in these facilities and they fall into three basic categories:
1) equipment upgrades,
2) operational modifications, and
3) modifications to facility buildings.
Our engineering partners perform no-cost energy assessments that identify waste in all these areas and provide you with options for reducing that waste.