County Will Reduce Energy Usage by 20 Percent by 2020
The “Better Buildings Challenge” of improved energy efficiency, accepted today by the County Commission, means the County pledges to reduce its energy consumption by at least 20 percent by 2020.
The Department of Energy challenge also requires the County to develop an energy-savings plan in which it must share data that demonstrates how the County is measuring progress against the 20-percent reduction goal. The County already uses an “energy management information system” for tracking and collecting data needed to document and share progress. The commitment to the DOE, which invited the County to participate, means the County must establish a schedule and milestones for progress and showcase its energy conservation projects.
“This is a challenge we are happy to accept,” said Commission Chair Susan Brager. “The County has already reduced its energy consumption on a per-foot basis by 20 percent between 2007 and 2011. The savings to taxpayers is about $17 million. We look forward to building on that record of achievement.”
Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani agreed: “The County has been making huge strides in energy conservation and green efforts generally over the last several years. We’ve been retrofitting our buildings, making sure new facilities are models of energy efficiency and tapping the power of the sun with new solar photovoltaic systems. And if you drive an electric vehicle to the Government Center, we even have six charging stations for you to use free of charge.”
“The County is striving to be a model in terms of conserving resources,” said Commissioner Mary Beth Scow. “Accepting the DOE’s invitation will put a spotlight on our efforts and perhaps we can encourage others in the community to conserve energy as well. In the end, we all benefit.”
Building retrofits have included modernizing lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment and operation standards. Lighting retrofits included updating fixtures to energy-efficient lamps as well as phasing out all incandescent and high energy-consuming fixtures and de-lamping over-lit areas. The building HVAC retrofits included reviewing existing equipment and, as appropriate, replacing with high efficient equipment, installing more efficient motors, upgrading the temperature control systems and minimizing run times.
Many County buildings now have energy management systems installed to automate temperature and lighting schedules. The controls help monitor and adjust temperature to designated set points and temperature setbacks for times of day, week and year. Motion detectors and photocells shut down lights and equipment when not in use. Window tinting was also applied to reduce heat and cooling contributions. As facilities were updated the County’s replacement standards also were changed so that more efficient technology is used. Office and maintenance equipment was also replaced with better technology and more efficient uses and locations.
Solar photovoltaic systems are collecting power as part of the County’s energy efficiency and conservation strategy. The County has installed three 30-kilowatt photovoltaic systems to provide renewable energy at Spring Mountain Youth Camp, the Building Department facility and the Government Center. These projects’ objectives were to participate in renewable energy technology, reduce utility costs and help educate the public on renewable energy production and applications. Interactive kiosks at the Government Center help educate the public on renewable energy solutions and monitor real time production.
Clark County is promoting the design and construction of sustainable and energy-efficient facilities with the construction of LEED buildings. A Building Department addition and a Wetlands Park project are being submitted for gold certification. Building Department standards and requirements have changed to encourage greener designs as well as cost-effective solutions.
As the County has grown and built new facilities, the building consumption per unit has become more efficient. Energy management information system software is used to track, query and report on the County’s utility consumption and costs. This helps identify progress as well as areas of need. These projects help affect our energy conservation efforts as well as qualify for rebates of almost $500,000, money that is used to fund more energy projects. The County’s energy conservation policies encourage our employees to be conscientious with their energy usage.
Half of Clark County’s energy bills come from street lighting and traffic operations. Since 2004, 375 intersections’ traffic signals have been updated from incandescent to LED (light-emitting diode) signals, which produced 90 percent energy savings. Another 150 new intersections were installed with LED as the new standard. About 5,000 streetlights were replaced with induction lighting, which included all mercury vapor streetlights and some older HID technology. Starting in 2012, all of the intersection streetlights will be updated to LED, producing energy savings of 65 percent.
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Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 14th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to more than 2 million citizens and 42 million visitors a year. Included are the nation’s 8th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to almost 900,000 residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.