How to Prioritize Municipal Facility Retrofits
Identify the most significant or cost effective opportunities to reduce energy use and cost in municipal facilities using freely available tools and guidance.
The ENERGY STAR Program is a joint effort of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that provides information, resources and training that promote energy efficient products and practices.
ENERGY STAR's website addresses a number of issues, including buildings and plants, which are designed to help building owners, including local governments, understand how to begin reducing their energy use by first determining their current performance. Resources such as the Guidelines for Energy Management explain the process of planning, staffing, implementing, and recognizing energy saving measures. The Portfolio Manager tool makes it easy and inexpensive to use building characteristics and utility bill data to assess building energy performance. Online training, support for ENERGY STAR partners and the ENERGY STAR Hotline enable users to have specific questions or challenges addressed in real time.
To get started with an ENERGY STAR:
- Become an ENERGY STAR Partner to maximize access to resources: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=business.bus_commit
- Review the Guidelines for Energy Management: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=guidelines.guidelines_index
- Take advantage of free Portfolio Manager and other training: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=business.bus_internet_presentations
- Utilize Portfolio Manager to assess your facilities' performance: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=evaluate_performance.bus_portfoliomanager
There are a variety of approaches to finding the most significant and cost effective opportunities to save energy and money in retrofitting municipal buildings. Each has particular advantages, from hiring an expert energy auditor or consultant to having energy audits performed as part of an energy service performance contract(EPC). Utilities and state governments offer free or easily affordable energy audit programs. Freely available tools and resources are a quick and easy way to get the process started, proceeding to alternative or more sophisticated approaches as the process matures.
Easy to Moderate Complexity
The ENERGY STAR tools and resources are fairly straightforward to use and come with a variety of support mechanisms. They do require some familiarity with the basics of building characteristics and access to utility data.
Using freely available tools and resources to assess building performance and establish priorities for retrofits will enable municipalities to immediately undertake this effort without procurement or cost. Using ENERGY STAR tools enables comparison with buildings of similar type and use, adding value to the benchmarking effort.
These tools may not provide a sufficient level of detail required by all municipalities. There may be circumstances where hiring an expert consultant is required.
When using freely available tools, the only significant cost is personnel time and effort.
Any change to an existing facility, such as the adjustment, connection, or disconnection of equipment.A measure of a building's or product's energy performance compared with that of similar buildings or products, as determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency / U.S. Department of Energy's ENERGY STARŪ Portfolio Manager. Identifies how much energy a building uses and the purposes for which it is used, and identifies efficiency and cost-reduction opportunities. The ability or potential of a physical body to do work. The most common forms of energy are heat, light, mechanical (moving parts), and electrical.