Board of County Commissioners
Leon County, Florida

www.leoncountyfl.gov
Agenda Item
Executive Summary


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Title:
Acceptance of the FY10 Fourth Quarter Status Report on the County Sustainability Program

Staff:
Parwez Alam, County Administrator
Vincent S. Long, Deputy County Administrator
Maggie Theriot, Office of Sustainability


 

Issue Briefing:

 

This item seeks Board acceptance of the status report on the activities of the County’s Sustainability Program for the fourth quarter of FY10.  The report contains a brief summary of community engagement and education efforts, and updates on major initiatives, both recently completed and pending.

 

Fiscal Impact:

 

This item has no fiscal impact to the County.

 

Staff Recommendation:

 

Option #1:       Accept the FY10 fourth quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.

 


Report and Discussion

 

Background:

 

The Office of Sustainability provides a quarterly status report to the Board.  The report contains a brief summary of community engagement and education efforts, and updates on major initiatives, both recently completed and pending.  This status report reviews activities occurring during the months of August 2010 through October 2010.  The most recent status report was provided on August 17, 2010. 

 

The following agenda items have been submitted to the Board since the most recent status report was generated. 

 

Date

Title

Action

9/14/2010

Consideration of Funding Request for Sponsorship for the Tallahassee Builders Association Green Expo in the Amount of $1,000

Commissioner Desloge moved, seconded by Commissioner Procter, to approve the funding request.

9/21/2010

Board Consideration of Authorizing the Leon County Attorney’s Office to Institute Litigation Against the FHFA Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Issues Concerning the Leon County Energy Improvement District (“PACE”) Financing Program

Commissioner Thaell moved, seconded by Commissioner Akinyemi, to authorize litigation against the FHFA.

10/12/2010

Ratification of Board Actions Taken at the September 14, 2010 Solid Waste Issues Workshop Related to the New State Mandated Recycling Goals

The Board approved the following recommendations:

 

1.     Prepare an agenda item for consideration of an internal policy for waste reduction, reuse, and recycling.

2.     Approach the City on partnering in the implementation of the recycling goals through renewal of the interlocal agreement and jointly bidding the curbside collection franchise agreement.

3.     Compile best practices and approaches being considered by other counties and cities and report back to the Board following the closure of the next legislative session.

4.     Schedule a workshop to discuss mandatory waste collection in the unincorporated area.  The workshop will allow public participation.

10/19/2010

Approval of the Phase III Amendment to Energy Services Agreement with Energy Systems Group in the Amount of $421,927 for the Bank of America Building, 8th Floor, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Replacement Project

Commissioner Akinyemi moved, seconded by Commissioner Desloge, to approve the Agreement, and associated budget amendment request.

11/9/2010

Authorization to Reissue the Solar Farm ITN

The Board authorized the re-issuance.


Analysis:

This report serves as a tool to keep the Board apprised of the success and efforts of the County’s Sustainability Program.  The status information is arranged within three primary categories:
1) Resource Conservation & Green House Gas Monitoring, 2) Policy & Program Administration, and 3) Civic Engagement and Community Partnership. 

 

Resource Conservation & Green House Gas Monitoring

The following are some initiatives taking place with the intent of energy and resource conservation. 

 

·             Energy Service Company (ESCO) Phase I: Savings – On November 22, 2005, the County entered into an Energy Services Agreement (ESA) with Energy Systems Group, Inc. (ESG) for the construction and implementation of Phase I of the project consisting of 13 Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) at a total cost of $4,114,216.  The contract included a minimum guaranteed net-energy savings over a 12-year period, during which time these savings were to cover the cost of the equipment upgrade.  The installation of energy saving upgrades to equipment began in January 2006.  As a result of these improvements, a total of $1,717,277 of energy cost has been avoided over the past 56 months.  This total represents both energy and water savings.  To date, the actual energy savings have exceeded the minimum guarantee by $313,418.

 

Table 1: Documented Energy Savings to Date

 

    
     Energy Savings 
  Period  Guarantee   Actual   
  January 2006 - August 2007                  86,010            208,460  
  September 2007 - July 2008                426,266            420,212  
  August 2008 - July 2009                439,154            565,653  
  August 2009 - June 2010                452,429            522,952  
     $         1,403,859  $     1,717,277  

The ESCO model has proven to be a valuable tool in reducing the County’s energy consumption in an effective and efficient manner.  This progress would be possible without the continued coordination and oversight of Facilities Management.  Given the positive results, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Management will continue efforts to implement many of the remaining ECMs identified in the original building audit, which were not included in the scope of Phase 1.  

 

·             ESCO Phase II: Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Grant funds are being sought in efforts to continue implementation of the remaining 24 Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs).  The Office of Sustainability has been awarded competitive grant funding as part of the Federal stimulus program to implement four additional ECMs.  Leon County was chosen by the Florida Energy and Climate Commission (FECC) to receive $1.17 million in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for energy-efficient projects.  The grant agreement has been fully executed with the FECC, allowing staff to begin program implementation. 


A majority of the grant will be used to implement ECMs such as lighting retrofits in County buildings.  In essence, the EECBG will function as “Phase II” of the County’s ESCO project and be conducted by Energy Systems Group.  A second amendment to the Energy Services Agreement has been executed to allow for implementation of the four ECMs.  Work is expected to take a mere seven months to finish and will take place in the Courthouse, BOA building and the Main Library.  In an effort to notify each of the affected Divisions, Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability jointly met with building occupants to explain the impact and benefits of the project.  As a result, building occupants are fully aware of the pending work and were given the chance to ask questions.

 

Upon completion, the project is estimated to result in $1,700,514 of savings in just 10 years, with a simple payback of just over seven years.  The accelerated schedule will likely result in Leon County being one of the first grant recipients to expend the EECBG funds.  Staff intends to leverage this accomplishment by serving as a case study for the FECC to highlight the beneficial results of the Federal stimulus program.

 

This project is estimated to save 1,239,886 kWh annually.  When using EPA's green house gas calculator it is estimated this project will reduce the County’s operational carbon footprint by 890 Metric tons of CO2e annually.  So what does this mean in other terms?  The energy savings are equivalent to removing 170 cars off the road, or consuming 2,071 less barrels of oil, or burning 4.6 rail cars worth of coal.  The annual energy savings of this grant project is equal to 94 homes worth of energy consumption.

 

·               ESCO Phase III: BOA HVAC Upgrade – In coordination with tenant renovations taking place on the 8th floor of the BOA building, an opportunity was identified to simultaneously upgrade an old heating, ventilation, and conditioning (HVAC) system to a more energy efficient model.  As one of the original ECMs identified through the original building audit, this upgrade will result in an estimated annual and recurring energy savings of approximately $15,000.  Work is scheduled to begin mid-November and last only four months to allow the new lease tenant to occupy.

 

·               Clean Energy Grant – Staff continually seeks grant opportunities to assist with the implementation of various sustainable initiatives.  Staff applied for $481,517 of grant funds through the Florida Clean Energy Grant.  This grant represented a significant chance to advance the energy conservation and alternative energy goals of Leon County.  By implementing both solar PV and a geothermal heating & cooling system, net-zero energy consumption can be achieved for the Cooperative Extension building.  However, staff was recently notified that the Leon County project was not selected as a grant recipient.  Efforts will continue to seek grant funds for this and other projects.

 

·             Rain Water Reuse - The opportunity to implement a 20,000-gallon rainwater capture cistern at the Cooperative Extension facility has continued to be implemented.  Staff of Facilities Management has completed the design plans for the collection system.  The design includes plastic control boxes made of recycled material.  Currently the re-purposed collection tanks are being modified to accommodate portal entries.  At the completion of the modification, the tanks will undergo a pressure test to confirm the system contains no leaks.  Although delayed from the original estimated installation date, installation is currently anticipated to begin in December 2010 and be completed by March 1, 2011.  It is intended the tanks will be installed in time for the spring rainy season to afford maximum rain collection.

 

·             100% Recycled Paper – Through leadership of the County Administrator, the Office of Sustainability, and the Agenda Coordinator have partnered to make the transition from 30% to 100% recycled paper for all in-house printing efforts of County Administration.  This includes Board Meeting agendas.

 

This transition to 100% post-consumer content paper has reduced the lifecycle environmental impact in the following ways:

 

·        100% Wood Use

·        44% Wastewater

·        33% Greenhouse Gases

·        30% Solid Waste

·        19% Net Energy

 

Additionally, through partnership of the Public Information Office, many of the brochures, booklets, and other collateral material recently created are produced on recycled paper.  Staff intends to work with other Board Departments to encourage transition of their paper stock as well. 

 

·             Pet Waste Bags – As the well-known local education campaign by TAPP (Think About Personal Pollution) has informed the community, pet waste contributes to nutrient pollution of Leon County’s local waterways.  A recent City ordinance now requires owners to pick up after their pets.  Parks & Recreation provides dispensers in various park and greenway locations to assist pet owners in picking up their pet’s waste.  However, many residents have wondered if more environmental damage is being caused by the additional waste of plastic bags used in picking up the waste.  To avoid these concerns, Parks & Recreation now provides biodegradable bags in the dispensers.  The process of degradation is shortened from hundreds of years to years or even months depending on the microorganisms in the environment. 

 

Policy & Program Administration

Various efforts have contributed to laying the foundation of the sustainability program that will guide the program goals and funding into the future. 


 

·            Leon Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) –As the first program of its kind in Florida, LEAP will enable property owners to receive an energy audit and finance energy efficiency improvements.  The pilot program was officially launched on July 14, 2010 to allow up to 100 homeowners to receive a free energy audit on a first-come first-served basis.  Within 48 hours, all 100 pilot project slots were filled, with an additional 36 residents placed on a waiting list.  Staff has worked with Talquin Electric to gain authorization and access to historic energy consumption data for each pilot project participant.  Each participant must sign a waiver allowing Talquin to grant access to the data.  Part of the energy audit will involve an assessment of 12 months of energy usage patterns for each home.

 

The audits were initially planned to be performed over a three-month period.  However, staff has experienced various challenges in the audit implementation.  It is key that the homeowner receive an audit report, which not only identifies possible improvements, but also provides some level of priority.  This will allow the homeowner to understand where their money and time is best invested, resulting in maximum energy savings for the minimum amount of investment.  In order to make sure each auditor is qualified and properly trained, it was determined that the audits will be conducted by building energy raters, certified by the Residential Energy Service Network as a Rater 1.  There are only two individuals within the community, which currently have this certificate.  In speaking with these individuals, staff verbally received an original cost estimate of $350 - $400 per audit, the cost of which appeared reasonable when compared to market standards.  However, when viewing the finalized scope of the audit, one Rater did not respond despite various emails and phone calls, and the second Rater stated the audit cost would now be approximately $1,000.  Staff is not comfortable reducing the scope of the audit, as a prioritized recommendation list is deemed central to the LEAP program and the success of achieved energy savings.  Staff is currently working with the Florida Green Building Coalition and other industry experts to customize an audit scope, which will remain affordable yet beneficial to the property owner.  The pilot participants will be notified of the program's delay and efforts to refine the audit process.

 

As directed during the September 21, 2010 Board Meeting, the County Attorney’s Office has filed a complaint against the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).  The complaint was filed in Federal court on October 8, 2010 against the FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.  The County’s suit charges the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with violating state and federal constitutional laws, procedures for creating agency regulations, and unfair trade practices.  Next, the FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac must respond to the Leon County complaint by December 20, 2010.  To date seven complaints (or motions to intervene/consolidate) have been filed against the FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in three states (California, New York, and Florida), with the Leon County case being the only one filed in Florida.  A Motion to Dismiss has been filed in one of the California cases by FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, but no such Motion has been filed in the Leon case.  Sonoma County, California has moved for a Preliminary Injunction to immediately stop the actions of FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac because of the harm it has caused their program.  Responses to these Motions are due by the end of November. 


As requested by the Board, a letter supporting the swift passage of the PACE Assessment Protection Act has been drafted and submitted to Representative Allen Boyd, Senator Bill Nelson and Senator George LeMieux  (Attachment #1).  Additionally, a draft Resolution was provided to the Board during the recent workshop on legislative priorities held on October 19, 2010.  A final Resolution will be presented as part of the workshop’s ratification (Attachment #2).  Like the letter, the Resolution supports the swift passage of the PACE Assessment Protection Act.

 

The County’s actions have resulted in much interest and discussion by other local governments and entities involved with PACE programs.  For example, ICLEI- Local Governments For Sustainability wrote an unsolicited letter to the editor, which was printed in the Tallahassee Democrat (Attachment #3).  County staff has provided guidance to various other entities interested in pursuing similar program.  This guidance has occurred on a one-on-one basis, in addition to presentations at large conferences and meetings.  Leon County will remain active in the discussion and debate against FHFA actions.  Through the County’s actions and efforts, Leon has emerged as a leader for not only the topic of PACE, but for implementing a well-rounded and progressive sustainability program.

 

Staff continues to seek grant opportunities to support the implementation of LEAP.  However, nearly all grant funding sources for PACE implementation have been temporarily halted or redirected given the current FHFA status.  Leon County had the unique opportunity to participate in a joint grant application led by the FECC as discussed in the prior quarterly status report.  Unfortunately, Florida was notified that the application was not awarded grant funds.  It is presumed but not explicitly stated that the Florida application was denied due to the current FHFA stance on PACE programs.

 

·             Community Gardens – With all infrastructure completed by County staff, the Fort Braden community garden is well underway.  Recently four rain barrels and five compost bins were donated to the garden in efforts to provide for more sustainable operation of the garden.  In total, there are 40 individual garden plots each 15’ x 15’.  To date, community residents occupy all but nine plots.  Many of the occupied plots have begun planting for the fall season.  By all standards and expectations, the Ft Braden community garden is considered a success and model of achievement.  This level of success could not have been reached with out hard work from many County departments and numerous community volunteers.    

 

Additionally, efforts are continuing toward the other community gardens.  Staff has discovered that FAMU is partnering on the Miccosukee community garden.  As a result, efforts are being made to determine the role and responsibilities of each party.  It appears FAMU was the recipient of a grant to help in development of the Miccosukee garden.  Staff has attempted to identify the scope of the FAMU grant as to avoid duplication of expenditures or resources.  Unfortunately, after repeated efforts to gain the grant description and documentation from FAMU representatives, none has been received.  Efforts will continue, but until staff can verify the intended scope of the FAMU grant funds, no County expenditures are anticipated. 


Second Harvest has launched their gardening efforts.  This garden utilized above ground planter boxes that were created by volunteers.  It became evident to the garden coordinators that an existing water spigot was no adequate to meet the needs of the garden.  As a result, Facilities Management assessed alternative irrigation feeds and coordinated the installation of a new water line and spigot.  Additionally, four rain barrels and five compost bins were donated to the garden in efforts to provide for more sustainable operation of the garden.  A member of Public Work’s stormwater division worked with area youth from Frenchtown’s Youth Empowerment, Leadership, and Development Academy (YELDA) program on how to install the rain barrels.  The children were engaged and had a lot of fun; meanwhile, learning how to live more sustainably and help others.

 

Civic Engagement and Community Partnership  

As a key resource for sustainable actions, both internally and in the community, the Office of Sustainability serves as a liaison to local, state, federal, and nonprofit groups.  The Office collaborates with government entities, businesses, and individual citizens on a routine basis. 

·         LivCom Award, City of Tallahassee – The City of Tallahsssee is a finalist for the United Nations LivCom (Livable Communities) award.  The objective of the awards competetion is to identify best practices of creating a livable community or in essence a sustainable community.  As part of the award finals, information and support was sought from various segments of the community, including the Board of County Commissioners.  The Office of Sustainability provided a large amount of docuemtnation and data regarding Leon County’s efforts and initiatives.  County representatives will participate as part of the LivCom delegation that includes observing and participating in presentations of international best practices, during which time the award recipents will be selected.

 

·         HUD Sustaianble Communities Regional Planning Grant - The Office of Sustainability was a participating partner in the development of a regional planning grant as discussed in the previous quarterly status report.  Staff has been notified that the grant effort was unsucessful as no grant funds were awarded to the regional parternship.

 

The progress of these initiatives will continue to be highlighted through quarterly status reports to the Board. 

 

Options:

1.      Accept the FY10 fourth quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.

2.      Do not accept the FY10 fourth quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.

3.      Board Direction.

 

Recommendation:

Option #1.

 

Attachments:
1.                  Letters to Representative Allen Boyd, Senator Bill Nelson, and Senator George LeMieux
2.                  Draft Resolution in support of the PACE Assessment Protection Act
3.                  Letter to the editor: ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability