Manatee places 14th among 125 teams in annual ENERGY STAR competition

  • Jun 7, 2016

MANATEE COUNTY, FL (May 25, 2016) – A new downtown chiller plant, along with a series of energy saving measures have earned Manatee County special recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a national competition.

 Manatee County placed 14th among 125 teams from across the country in the EPA’s 2015 ENERGY STAR National Building Competition. Manatee’s largest downtown buildings lowered energy consumption by more than 7 percent and reduced carbon emissions by 7.2 tons in 2015.


Manatee County Energy Manager Diana Linville said a bulk of the energy savings are a byproduct of the County’s downtown chiller plant, upgraded lighting systems and a new centralized Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) control system. Linville, working with Manatee County Property Management tackled a host of sustainable projects in 2015. The County swapped aging lamps with energy-efficient lighting, installed solar window shades and launched thermal imagery and GIS mapping projects that provide a real-time gauge of energy consumption.


Linville said the downtown energy plant and new controlled thermostats have resulted in a “monumental” savings in energy use at the Manatee County Administration Building and the County Property Appraiser’s building.


“The Administration Building reduced energy consumption nearly 40 percent, or about $250,000 in 2015, and it ranked ninth in the individual building category,” Linville said. “The downtown Property Appraiser’s Office reduced its energy consumption by more than 30 percent, a $24,438 savings. Overall, these are substantial energy, cost and emissions savings that we’re incredibly proud of.”


Michelle Powers, Manatee’s Energy and Sustainability Coordinator who spearheaded the ENERGY STAR project, said the recognition validates more than a year’s worth of work with local agencies on efficiencies.


“To receive the honor and recognition is incredible, especially considering we were competing against corporate giants like Sears and Verizon,” Powers said. “Earning this national recognition will help establish Manatee County as dedicated in the energy and sustainability sector which can open up the door for grants and other funding toward green initiatives in the future.”


“I’m extremely proud of the time, effort and dedication our energy and sustainability team put into this project,” Property Management Director Charlie Bishop said. “They do great work that’s resulting in substantial energy and dollar savings to the taxpayers of Manatee County.”


Manatee’s ENERGY STAR entry included the downtown Administration Building and Property Appraiser’s building, along with the Historic Courthouse and Judicial Center. The Central Library has also seen a sharp reduction in energy costs as a result of their connection to the chiller plant.


More than 6,500 buildings and 125 teams competed to slim down their energy and water “waste lines.” Over the year-long competition, they shed excess energy and water waste, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and saved money along the way, according to the competition website.


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