Butler County owns numerous public buildings to serve the needs of its residents. Many of these buildings are more than thirty years old and are suffering from aging materials, outdated technology, and outdated mechanical equipment that is no longer energy efficient. The Butler County Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy gives priority to energy efficiency retrofits of existing buildings versus the installation of new renewable energy systems. Additionally, the goal is to extend the useful life of existing County buildings versus the construction of new facilities.
Butler County has utilized the professional services of energy efficiency experts to visually inspect and analyze numerous buildings to create a plan of action for the County. Butler County proposes to use a portion of the funding to perform detailed Energy Audits of six existing buildings which will create energy efficiency benchmarks and identify the most cost effective solutions to create energy efficiency.
The County staff has collected one year’s worth of energy bills from six buildings so that we may assess each building’s energy use and implement energy efficiency improvements. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective energy resource available because we can access it immediately. Since it reduces overall energy demand; energy efficiency should be put into place before renewable energy systems are installed, thereby increasing cost-effectiveness of the renewable energy systems.
The Butler County Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy has two interrelated goals, to: 1) Improve existing buildings and facilities and lower the County’s energy costs and reduce emissions; and 2) Utilize the energy audit process to develop a method to continuously improve existing facility operations and creating an environment focused on energy efficiency, sustainable development and extending the useful life of existing buildings.
The Butler County Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy will retrofit existing County buildings which will result in an immediate and sustained energy reduction and cost savings over the lifetime of the installed equipment. The newly installed equipment will have a useful life of a decade or more. An objective of the Butler County Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy is to reduce energy consumption by 10% or 1,204,000 kWh, GHG emissions by 1,770,000 lbs, and save $180,000.00 per year and more than $2,000,000.00 over the lifetime of the equipment with added savings due to the elimination of needed extensive repairs and maintenance of old equipment.
The retrofit program is an important element is the County’s goal of “sustainable development”. By making improvements to existing buildings in urban areas there is less need for new construction of County buildings which often times takes place away from urban centers and creates longer commute times for county employees, travel time for residents and contributes to the loss of green space.
Additonally, Butler County will also use detailed investment grade energy audits to detail and benchmark energy use in County facilities. The detailed Energy Audits of six buildings will allow the County to prioritize capital expenditures for many years into the future. It will also to create a profile of no-cost/low-cost energy efficiency opportunities.
The installation of building automation software will provide sustained benefits by allowing the County to use each building in the most efficient manner possible. The expected useful like of the building automation software would allow the County to experience a decade or more of cost savings. It will allow for real-time energy tracking to quickly identify changes in energy use patterns that could mean mechanical failure or miscalibration. The building automation software provides a low cost and easy to use solution to track operations and savings - all of which maximizes the benefits of energy efficiency equipment upgrades over the short and long term. Besides reducing energy costs, these improvements will enhance occupant comfort; reduce deferred maintenance; decrease the need for capital dollars; replace banned refrigerants with environmentally friendly coolants; and lower the number of hot and cold service calls in these facilities.
The Butler County Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy will be managed by the Butler County Department of Development with financial over-site by the Butler County Auditor, State of Ohio Auditor and U.S. Treasury Department.