Pierce, Kitsap counties compete to reduce energy use

Pierce County battled it out with Kitsap County to see which could reduce energy use the most in May. Both...

Pierce County battled it out with Kitsap County to see which could reduce energy use the most in May. Both counties pitted their courthouses against each other in a friendly challenge to raise awareness about energy conservation, save taxpayer dollars, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy generation.

Although the competition was tough, Pierce County came out ahead by reducing the County-City Building’s energy use by 676,344 kBtu in May. This accounted for a significant energy savings of 31 per cent, which helped save more than $3,700.

Pierce County employees removed personal appliances, turned off lights, unplugged electronics, kept windows closed and turned off computer monitors. Behind the scenes, facilities maintenance staff optimized building equipment, ensuring that nothing was running when it wasn’t needed. The boilers that heat the building account for a large portion of the building’s energy use, so scaling them back when they weren’t needed significantly contributed to the building’s improved energy performance.

“Reducing energy use in our buildings is dependent not only on how we operate and improve our facilities, but also how we all use them on a day-to-day basis,” said Pierce County Facilities Management Resource Conservation Program Coordinator Jessica Ludwig. “The Courthouse Energy Challenge successfully demonstrates the impact we can all have on reducing energy use when we work together.”

Recent energy efficiency upgrades further contributed to Pierce County’s success in the challenge. The building’s windows were recently upgraded from original single-pane glass to an energy efficient double-pane, which reduces air leakage and allows for better temperature control inside the building. Fresh water pumps were also recently replaced with a new model that runs only when needed, which is much more efficient than the older model that ran 24 hours per day.

Even though Pierce County won the challenge, both counties successfully reduced their energy use. Kitsap County reduced its energy use by 5.6 per cent, which saved $983 in May.

This innovative challenge was successful in not only reducing energy use and operating costs, but also in increasing awareness of Pierce County’s Resource Conservation Program, county energy policies, and behavior changes that will have a lasting impact, according to Pierce County officials.

More information is available online here.

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