Implementing Energy Efficiency in Municipalities

Implementing efficiency measures may be challenging when upfront capital, experience, and resources are limited or unavailable. Given the constraints on financial and technical resources, how can a municipality gain control of their energy usage and lower their energy cost?

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As a municipality in today’s world, there is a good chance that revenues are uncertain and difficult to project. Grandiose plans and actions may be put on hold due to this uncertainty, yet other options may still be available to help your municipality accomplish energy-efficient goals for your community.

Although it is certain you will have competing priorities when it comes to a limited capital budget, there are alternative and positive measures that can be taken without capital. With more municipalities making a public commitment to sustainability, energy efficiency becomes the low-hanging fruit in pursuit of a tangible reduction in energy consumption.

One option is for municipalities to demonstrate stability in their fiscal and social leadership by making a public commitment to sustainability, resilience and continuity. As this is made, you can secure an energy-as-a-service contract, which eliminates the use of capital and is instead based on a monthly service fee. Within this demonstration, your municipality should highlight features that provide both tangible and meaningful impacts and publicize why such changes are important.

How can municipalities overcome these hurdles and push things forward? Here are a few key tips to consider to become a more sustainable and energy-efficient municipality.

  • Install LED lighting. LEDs have many quantifiable sustainability benefits, more environmentally friendly disposal, as well as fiscal benefits, such as lower energy costs, longer life span and lower maintenance costs.

  • Challenge and work with others to adopt a greener stance in your community to gain visibility and improve continuity in your community.

  • Consider resilience as a service. Like an LED lighting offering, it requires no capital to secure. As you gain resilience, you can assure your citizens that leadership, emergency services and other critical services can continue to function when they are needed most, such as natural disasters or similar crises.
To begin implementing efficiency for your municipality, consider the following steps:

  • Initiate an energy assessment – These can be self-assessments that examine possibilities surrounding LED lighting or resilience, such as generators. As these items are addressed, a more thorough assessment conducted by an outside firm may be warranted to start and address the simple before identifying the more complex challenges. By understanding the drivers of your energy costs, you can quantify the value of energy efficiency and help justify the project.

  • Begin a dialog with energy-as-a-service company – Begin the process of quantifying the cost reduction value of LED lighting versus the proposed monthly cost. Often you will find that the monthly charge is less than the monthly savings. Ultimately, the decision is simple as it is less expensive to act than not to.

  • Start with “low-hanging fruit” projects. Areas of immediate energy efficiency impact include lighting and HVAC retrofits. These projects can have an immediate or short-term payback that capital plans and decision-makers can support while progressing sustainability goals.

  • Identify critical facilities and services – Conduct a tabletop exercise and visualize individual services or facilities becoming unavailable. Identify the anticipated impact of each loss and give special consideration to interdependent organizations such as police and fire. After the exercise, provide a ranking of most critical to least and engage a resiliency-as-a-service provider to propose a solution.

  • For the greater good – Broadcast your energy efficiency efforts to the public you serve letting them know the positive advances in reducing your energy consumption and carbon footprint. It always helps to show you’re doing your part when it comes to sustainability.
The overall goal is for a municipality to socialize and promote initiatives to the community. Share with them your sustainability and cost-saving accomplishments while advocating for their participation. Demonstrate the resilience measures taken and publish community disaster plans for the media and review. Lead incrementally to gain exponentially.

Progress being made a little at a time can make a huge difference for a municipality in the long run. Get started today!