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Expediting Energy Savings

Energy audits for Jacksonville, Florida, take steps to reduce its carbon footprint

The Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) is a federal program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The EECBG is designed to help cities implement projects that improve energy efficiency in the building and transportation sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When the city of Jacksonville, Florida, USA, was awarded an EECBG, work had to be completed quickly to comply with federal deadlines.

CDM Smith partnered with the city of Jacksonville to perform energy audits on an expedited schedule, helping the city take full advantage of their grant funding and implement projects that would return significant energy and cost savings. To meet tight deadlines, six, 2-person teams audited a total of 39 buildings in five communities, covering a total of 1 million square feet in just 3 days. The teams completed the audits, made recommendations and quantified energy and cost savings for the city on schedule and in just 4 months—half the time normally required for EECBG recommendations.

The audits included a variety of municipal buildings, ranging from water and wastewater treatment facilities, airport hangers, maintenance and administrative buildings to fire stations and libraries. Through this process, the team identified $3 million worth of energy saving projects for the city, saving an estimated $1.4 million. The city has already implemented several of these projects using the grant money, and anticipates a payback period of less than 5 years.

Projects completed include lighting retrofits and upgrades to the city's heating, ventilation and cooling systems. Incandescent and higher wattage florescent lights were replaced with low wattage alternatives. Meanwhile, a small chiller was installed to address peak demand rather than running two larger chillers to cool buildings. Equipment optimization software on existing chillers was upgraded, installing variable frequency drives on pump and fan motors, and implementing unoccupied set points for large buildings overnight and during unoccupied times.

These projects are expected to reduce Jacksonville’s greenhouse gas emissions by 17,000 metric tons per year—and the city will continue to implement new, energy-saving projects over the coming years as funding becomes available.

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City of Jacksonville