Meto Partnership for Energy
Takes Dead Aim at Energy Inefficiency
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
May 16, 2002
With your County paying over $4,000,000.00 annually in electricity costs alone, the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy (MPE) is rolling up its sleeves to find ways to reduce your County's and other entities' use of energy. This is just one of the many ways that your public officials work daily to reduce the unnecessary costs of government. As importantly, given the national and local implications of being dependent on unstable countries for our energy suggests that the emphasis we place on conservation and energy development should be as important as the Manhattan Project was in developing the atomic bomb that helped end World War II. Our first step is with conservation.
Partners forming the MPE are City Public Service, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, Alamo Area Council of Governments, Greater Bexar County Council of Cities, VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio Water System and Solar San Antonio. The Director is Linda Stone and she is reachable at 118 Broadway #616 78205, 224-7278. With it seeming that the price of everything including our government is always increasing, it is a pleasant thought that the electricity component of the budget of our government and yes even of our personal homes and businesses might have a good chance of holding the line or going down.
You will hear from me further on precisely what we are doing and finding as a result of our efforts and inquiries. In the meantime, I trust that the information below will mean dollars and cents as well as common sense for you and yours.
Measures You Can Take to Save Energy
- Educate all employees about the importance of conserving our resources.
- Turn off lights when not in office/rest room/break room.
- Enable energy saver settings on computer monitors, or if not available, turn off monitor when leaving office (even for an hour or two). There is software available that can be put on a network to put monitors "to sleep" when not in use.
- Turn off computers, printers, copiers, and lights when leaving for the day.
- Put signs by elevators asking people to walk up one flight and down two.
- Ask employees to consider alternate methods of transportation to get to work and around town: walking, biking, carpool, and vanpool. Overuse of vehicles is the greatest contributor to our warming climate. We can cool down by getting out of cars. There are incentives like "cash out," paying employees the cost of their parking not to drive.
- When purchasing new office equipment, look for Energy Star labels—only purchase energy efficient equipment.
- Buying recycled and recycling decreases energy use on the macro scale, so it is the right thing to do even if it doesn't result in direct energy savings for the local government. It is an example of "Think globally, act locally."
- When replacing lights, use compact fluorescent or other high efficiency bulbs.
- When replacing streetlights, use high efficiency bulbs.
- When replacing traffic signals and exit signs, use light emitting diodes (LEDs).
- Train maintenance staff about energy efficiency measures.
- Caulk windows and doors where fittings are not snug.
- Install UV protective film on windows that reduces heating through the glass.
- Perform routine maintenance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. When replacing, go with high efficiency systems.
- Keep temperatures at comfortable yet reasonable levels for season—high seventies in summer, high sixties in winter.
- When possible, allow more daylight into rooms to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Workers are more productive with natural lighting.
- When building new facilities use green design, consider solar panels; use new International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).Other
- Plant trees and lighten pavements and roofs to reduce urban heat island effect. Lots of paved, dark, impermeable surfaces raise temperatures and create the need for more artificial cooling.
- Encourage local utilities to purchase more renewable energy.
- Include water conservation in efforts. The State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) considers this an important part energy conservation. Repair leaky sinks and toilets and water fountains. Replace old toilets with the low flow variety. This also saves energy for the area because water pumping is a huge energy drain.