Board of County Commissioners
Leon County, Florida
This item seeks Board acceptance of the status report on the activities of the County’s Sustainability Program for the third quarter of FY09. The report contains a brief summary of community engagement and education efforts, and updates on major initiatives, both complete and pending.
This item has no fiscal impact to the County.
Option #1: Accept the FY09 third quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.
Option #2: Direct staff to cooperate with the City of
Report and Discussion
As part of the FY09 budget development process, the Board approved the Climate Action Plan which included funding for capital improvements, operating supplies, and a full-time sustainability coordinator position. The Office of Sustainability was established at the start of FY09, with the full-time position being filled February 2009.
The office is a resource for County operations and community residents for topics relating to; energy conservation, waste reduction and recycling, green building practices and products, greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), and more. These activities are primarily the responsibility of the Sustainability Coordinator, although the support and assistance of other County divisions is critical to the successful development and implementation of the Program’s objectives. The following are examples of divisions which have made significant contributions over the past quarter; County Administration, Facilities Management, Fleet Management, Management & Information Systems, Public Information Office, and Solid Waste Management, which includes Recycling Services. Additionally, the assistance of multiple college-level interns has been utilized. These creative volunteers have contributed to research, data collection, and program development.
The Office of Sustainability provides the third quarter status report of activities occurring during the months of February through July of 2009. Due to the recent creation of the Program, this report is the initial quarterly status report, with regularly scheduled reports to follow.
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 & Administration, and
3) Civic Engagement.
Resource Conservation & Green House Gas Monitoring
Energy conservation is a key function of the Office of Sustainability. Conservation not only reduces the emissions of GHG but also saves on operating and maintenance cost. Staff, is continuously working to remain educated on the latest technology and maintenance methods to operate County buildings, vehicle fleet, parks, and solid waste facility.
The following are some initiatives taking place with the intent of energy and resource conservation. As initiatives are implemented, the impact of each will be closely monitored for energy and resource savings as well as the reduction of GHG. The results will be included in future quarterly status reports.
· Heating Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Assessment and Upgrade – Staff conducted an assessment of all existing HVAC units 5-tons and smaller to prioritize the units for replacement with more efficient air systems. Currently these units are approximately 10 SEER (efficiency rating). Generally, replacement units cost exponentially more as the efficiency only gradually increases. Thorough research was conducted to determine the highest efficiency possible while still providing for an investment resulting in a seven-year payback or less (as directed by the Board). The study revealed that 26 individual units qualified for replacement with an average payback period of less than seven years. Combined, these enhancements are anticipated to reduce operating energy costs by approximately $9,600 annually and 123,504 pounds of GHG on an annual reoccurring basis. This enhancement is equivalent to the carbon sequestration of 1,436 seedling trees grown for 10 years (US EPA).
Additionally two larger 20-ton HVAC units were replaced at the Bank of America due to end of life failure. The failed units operated on a single compressor system which results in the system running at full capacity when ever in use. By replacing the units with a multi-stage compressor system, the units can ‘ramp up’ the capacity and force as demand requires. When full capacity is not required, only portions of the total system operate, resulting in significant energy savings by maximizing the efficiency. In addition to improved occupant comfort, together, the two units are anticipated to reduce energy costs by more than $7,000 on an annual basis, resulting in rapid a project pay back of only 5.16 years.
· Grey Water Reuse – Recently, the limitations and opportunities for grey water reuse in County facilities have been explored. It was determined that no significant regulatory barriers exist. A site-specific analysis was conducted for the Solid Waste Transfer Station to capture rainwater from the roof and use it to rinse transfer trucks prior to exiting the facility. The estimated cost was determined to be approximately $125,000, including design and permitting. As a result, this initiative was deemed an ineffective use of resources and not pursued. Despite the lack of implementation, this assessment served to educate staff of the potential opportunities for grey water reuse. Alternative uses will continue to be assessed for potential implementation such as toilet water or flower bed irrigation.
· Irrigation Upgrades – Moisture sensors have been installed at nine parks and athletic fields. In addition to the core purpose of reducing water consumption, the sensors will assist staff to easily maintain the athletic facilities. Moisture sensors provide only the necessary water to grass, promote proper growth, and help to limit disease.
In addition, staff is installing moisture sensors throughout the demonstration gardens of Cooperative Extension. The sensors will allow the irrigation system to only operate when necessary. This will avoid over-watering due to changes in temperatures or recent rain events. It is intended that all County irrigation systems will operate with moisture sensors, as well as programmable controls in the future.
· Parks Recycling – Staff is working to introduce recycling to six County athletic park facilities (Canopy Oaks,
· Park Athletic Field Lighting – A study of athletic field lighting is currently underway for four facilities (Canopy Oaks,
· Bank of
· LEED Certification of the Eastside Branch Library – As directed by the Board, the Eastside Branch Library will be designed and constructed to LEED standards. Staff is working closely with the architectural firm during the design phase to maximize the LEED attributes of the building. At minimum, the Library will be LEED Certified, with the likely result of LEED Silver. County staff is actively pursuing grant funding to enhance the building to LEED Gold. The building is intended to serve as a local demonstration center of creative and functional ways to build sustainably. With this in mind, staff intends to create interactive signage and information to educate visitors, inclusive of both Library patrons and members of the construction industry.
Each of the initiatives is anticipated to result in a reduction of both operating costs and GHG emissions. To ensure the green house gas emission reduction goals of the sustainability program are implemented effectively, it is important to develop systems for monitoring implementation, measuring results, keeping track of changing conditions, taking advantage of new information and ideas, and revising program targets and plans as needed. Tracking and measuring should be routine in order to demonstrate the progress being made and allow for strategy adjustments along the way. Accurate and reliable monitoring is a key factor to many of the federal and state stimulus program opportunities. Upon receipt of stimulus funds, staff will be required to provide accurate and transparent information on the reduction of GHG emissions. Additionally, monitoring of energy and GHG emissions is a part of ICLEI-Local Government for Sustainability’s (ICLEI) Milestone 1 (conduct baseline inventory and forecast) and Milestone 5 (monitor and verify emission reduction progress).
A base line of data is necessary to understand the current impact of County operations toward energy consumption and the emission of green house gases. In order to gauge the effectiveness of these goals the measurement and verification must continue on a regular basis into the future.
Various databases will be used in order to track energy and emissions. Each of these will require significant data collection and input to initiate the database, and then, once established, require less effort and time. The following is a description of the tasks taking place for each database resource. A description of purpose and function for each database can be found in
· Utility Manager – Staff is working to centralize the payment and processing of utility service invoices to a single source. Currently, multiple Divisions receive monthly utility statements and are responsible for processing the invoice, with no active effort to collect consumption data, such as kWh, demand charge, fuel costs, and water usage. The centralization will allow for more efficient processing and uniform collection of energy and water consumption data. Staff is coordinating with utility providers to produce a customized electronic file of all County account activity to be uploaded to Utility Manager.
· EPA’s Portfolio Manager – Data for this program will come directly from Utility Manager once available. At that time, staff will determine which buildings may be eligible to become certified under EPA’s Energy Star building program. Staff will pursue the certification of qualified buildings and work to enhance remaining buildings to also qualify. Each facility will continue to be monitored on an annual basis.
· Clean Air & Climate Protection (CACP) – Due to significant data loss and an updated software release, staff has begun the process of recalibrating the baseline emissions inventory and forecast for Leon County operations. This adjustment will take place parallel to the implementation of energy conservation initiatives and will not impede the progress of those activities. Once recalibration efforts are complete, results will be included in future quarterly status reports to represent the progress made towards the reduction of GHG within
· Building Automation System (
· Fuel Management System – This tool will allow staff to track fuel consumption patterns with far greater accuracy. Upon installation of the system, the information will be assessed to identify under-performing vehicles and possible inefficiencies caused by the operator. This will be followed by targeted maintenance or employee education in efforts to improve the vehicle performance.
Various efforts have contributed to laying the foundation of the sustainability program that will guide the program goals and funding into the future. Efforts include developing a mission statement (Attachment #2), a sustainability policy, and program goals. The sustainability policy is currently in draft form. Staff is working to finalize the proposed policy and present it to the Board for consideration in the near future. The policy will provide guidance for government operations to function more sustainably in areas such as procurement, building operations, and vehicle usage.
Policy and program analysis has included the assessment of solar opportunities for
As a member of the Climate Communities group, staff attended the Local Climate Leadership Summit, a gathering that included 200 local government climate leaders. The event explored economic stimulus and other federal resource opportunities. Innovative local government efforts in the areas of green buildings, alternative fuel vehicles, land use, and smart growth were also examined. Multiple members of Congress and the Obama administration shared their plans for energy policy, transportation legislation, and cap-and-trade.
In the near future, a fully refurbished ‘Growing Green’ website for
Membership would include a representative from the following agencies: the City of
Anti-idling is another Board-directed task in which staff is actively pursuing. A resolution to recognize the importance of reducing vehicular idling will be presented to the Board at the
Staff, as directed by the Board, is working to create a program for low-interest loans for weatherization of homes in unincorporated
$1 million fund designed to provide non-income-based loans for improvements, such as insulation, energy efficient windows, and weather-stripping. An agenda item is anticipated for presentation during the
Additionally, per Board direction, staff is pursuing Green Government certification by the Florida Green Building Coalition. This is a program designed to recognize municipalities for outstanding environmental stewardship. A list of criteria is presented, and each is assigned a point value. A minimum total point value is set, and local governments, who incorporate sufficient criteria such that they meet or exceed the minimum total point value, are certified as a Green Local Government. In support of this initiative, staff plans to establish a Facilities Design Guideline for use by architects, engineers, designers, and construction personnel. These guidelines will assist professionals with the design, construction, and management of County facilities. Aspects of sustainability will be clearly present throughout the document.
As a part of the “stimulus response team,” the Office of Sustainability has researched and tracked various stimulus-funding opportunities. The purpose and intent of the primary programs are described in Attachment #5, with an outline of staff’s efforts and contributions as follows.
· Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) - On
· Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) - Staff is currently awaiting release of the official policy and guidelines for the grant, which are anticipated by the end of 2009. It is known that the maximum award will be $1.2 million. In anticipation of the formal program guidelines, staff hosted an EECBG brainstorm session with representatives in various
Climate Showcase Communities - Staff submitted a grant application for an opportunity known as Climate Showcase Communities by sponsor of the Environmental Protection Agency. The application was for $476,647 of federal funds, with $238,500 of required matching funds for a total of $715,147. The project would turn nearly all community yard debris (bagged and unbagged), along with other organics, into compost. This compost would then be placed (with scientific methods) over the Solid Waste Landfill. After a few months, the natural bacteria in the compost would "eat" at least 80% of the current methane emissions from the landfill.
· Petroleum Reduction Technologies - The Leon County School Board has been actively pursuing grant funding for construction of a compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel filling station for use in their school bus fleet. A grant opportunity through the Department of Energy was identified for the project. However, the School Board was not considered a qualified applicant and, therefore, unable to compete for the Clean Cities program grant; whereas, County government was a qualified applicant. As a result, the County formed a partnership to formulate and submit the $8.8 million grant request on the School Board’s behalf. Notice of award is pending at this time.
Each of the aforementioned opportunities have involved various conference calls, public hearings, meetings with state and county officials, research and policy analysis, in order to position Leon County for successful receipt of funds.
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 partners with government entities, businesses, and individual citizens on a routine basis. This partnership is critical to the success of any sustainability quest. Staff has worked to make strides to cooperate and communicate with other governmental bodies, as highlighted in a previous section of this status report. Additionally, the Office collaborates with community groups, such as, Sustainable Tallahassee, Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA), and Sustainable Florida, as well as individual citizens, to exchange experiences, knowledge, and program strategies.
Joining forces with the CONA, the Office assisted in the success of the Tallahassee Neighborhood Energy Challenge. The competition, hosted by CONA, occurs for a six-month period, during which
The Office of Sustainability has participated as an active member in the Multi-County Extension Advisory Committee for Climate Change & Sustainable Living, hosted by the Leon County Cooperative Extension. One of the central tasks of the committee is to explore opportunities to expand the role of the
In addition to the program development, staff has placed a strong focus on the importance of the community outreach. On a regular basis, the Office presents sustainability information to civic groups, participates in peer-to-peer exchanges, and hosts educational events. When possible, staff participates in community events, which provide a platform to engage and educate citizens. Examples include hosting a booth at the Spring Time Tallahassee Parade, Earth Day at the Capitol, and a booth at the first annual Earth Day Jam. The Board recognized Earth Day by presenting a Resolution, and the Main Library featured earth-related books for all ages. Staff appeared on the local news channel WCTV as the “Celebrity Chef” to highlight an easy way to incorporate locally grown vegetables into a meal. Additionally, staff has been a guest speaker for multiple events hosted by Sustainable Tallahassee. Outreach is not only limited to the
A team of County staff coordinated the “Leon County Solid Waste Spectacular.” This event served as a community open house of the Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility. To many, this facility was thought of as simply a “landfill” or “dump”. Through tours, demonstrations, lectures, and activities; families learned of the various services provided through the complex that extend far beyond a “landfill”; such as, electronic recycling, household hazardous waste for used items, such as oil and batteries, the recycling education center, and much more. The fun-filled atmosphere had snow cones and face painting for kids, and a free sustainable lunch, resulting in a huge success with more than 150 people attending.
This effort has received public recognition throughout the nation as a model for other municipalities to follow. Publications such as NACo’
The Office of Sustainability played an instrumental role in hosting the Symposium for Florida Leaders of Sustainability. The symposium provided one-day training for 45 attendees from around the State who were interested in implementing sustainable principles within their organization. Through partnership with Sustainable Florida, the Symposium provided a practical step-by-step process for creating sustainability plans, using necessary tools, conducting sustainability assessments, and facilitating one’s sustainability journey.
As directed by the Board on
The presentation focused on steps that
In just seven months after the establishment of a full-time Sustainability Coordinator, many valuable steps have been taken toward
1. Accept the FY09 third quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.
2. Direct staff to cooperate with the City of
3. Adopt the Enabling Resolution Establishing the
4. Do not accept the FY09 third quarter status report on the County Sustainability Program.
5. Board Direction.
Options #1 and #2.
1. Description and Explanation of Database Systems.
3. Solar Policy Improvement Opportunities
4. Enabling Resolution to Establish the Sustainability Task Force
5. Program Description of Stimulus Grant Opportunities