Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and cost effective ways to combat climate change, improve air quality and reduce energy costs. Manatee County is focusing on energy reduction and efficient technologies throughout our operations and looking for ways to help residents, visitors and businesses do the same.
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Energy Star Partner
Manatee County made a fundamental commitment to protect the environment through the continuous improvement of our energy performance by becoming an EPA Energy Star Partner in 2013. Through the partnership, the County measures and tracks the energy performance of our facilities by using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool. In accordance with the Energy Star Energy Management Guidelines, we have developed and implemented policies to achieve energy savings and have educated employees on the importance of energy efficiency.
Clean Energy & Energy Reduction Initiatives
The Manatee County Green Team report published in 2011 found that energy reduction retrofit projects have thus far realized a net savings of 24%, approximately $480,000, at the Jail, Public Safety Complex, the Administration Building and the Judicial Center.
All new equipment and appliances have the Energy Star designation indicating a high standard of energy efficiency. Replacement air conditioning units are being upgraded to 14 SEER.
Lighting fixtures are being retrofitted for efficiency. Where possible, LEDs, partnered with solar energy, are being used at lift stations for walking paths, parking lights and up lighting. High pressure sodium street lights are being replaced with LED lighting. The Traffic division has converted over 200 traffic signals to similar energy efficient LED signal lamps, and has incorporated this practice in our standard operating procedures. Bulbs inside our administrative buildings are being replaced with compact fluorescents and some are simply being removed.
As roof replacements are needed, the old, non-reflective roof system is being replaced with a reflective one, which reduces operating costs and is eligible for power company energy rebates. Solar power is being used when possible and appropriate; examples include lighting, water heating, school zone warning signs and observation cameras in some parks and preserves.
Energy Efficiency Audits
Manatee County is served by two energy companies: Florida Power & Light and Peace River Electric Cooperative. Both of these organizations offer programs that can help residents and businesses save energy and money.
FPL offers a free Walk-Through Audit where an energy expert will visit your home, identifying energy saving opportunities and rebates available to improve your home’s energy efficiency. They also offer a Computer-Assisted Audit. This is a more detailed audit that will estimate potential savings, installation costs and the payback period of each recommendation. It costs $15. These services are available by visiting FPL's In home website or calling 1-800-DIAL-FPL (1-800-342-5375).
Peace River Electric Cooperative offers free energy audits that investigate total building electric use. The audit includes a breakdown of basic components like heating, cooling, lighting, and water heating. They have an energy calculator tool that helps you estimate your home energy costs as well as an interactive online energy savings home tour. You can set up an audit by calling 1-800-282-3824 and ask for the Energy Services department.