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Office of Energy and SustainabilitySuperior government service with the smallest possible environmental footprint

Energy Efficiency

Montgomery County uses the latest technology, innovative financing, and data analysis to maximize energy efficiency of its buildings.

Efficient Lighting

Montgomery County incorporates highly efficient LED lights into new buildings and building renovations. LEDs use at least 75% less power than incandescent bulbs, produce very little heat, and last significantly longer than less efficient bulbs. Daylight harvesting uses windows and skylights to maximize natural light and uses light sensors to adjust the electric light as daylight levels change throughout the day.

The County is currently planning and implementing lighting upgrades at several facilities, parking garages and in County streetlights. All 21 County parking garages will be upgraded with LED lighting and programmed to dim when no motion is detected and utilize daylight harvesting where appropriate. The garage upgrades are expected to save the County more than $750,000 per year. The first few completed garages are showing more than 40% reduction in electricity costs in the first few months since the upgrades (see the graph). The retrofit of over 25,000 streetlights is expected to yield energy savings of more than $900,000 per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 4,500 annually.

Efficient Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling systems alone can account for a quarter of a building’s energy use. Highly efficient chillers and boilers combined with properly sealing and insulating the building have a big impact on energy efficiency. The County also regularly maintains heating and cooling systems, which dramatically improves system performance and saves energy. Some County facilities use innovative technologies to reduce energy use even further. For example, the White Oak Community Recreation Center in Silver Spring harnesses the steady 55-degree temperature underground with a geothermal heating and cooling system. The system combines underground pipes with electric heat pumps, eliminating the need for chillers or boilers and reducing energy consumption.

Using Data to Manage Building Energy Wisely

More than 80 County buildings have automated building controls that allow technicians to monitor and adjust building temperature, humidity levels, lighting, and more to save energy while keeping people comfortable and safe. We also closely monitor utility bill data of more than 425 buildings to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Using EnergyCAP software, staff pulls data directly from utilities and investigates and resolves billing issues, along with tracking and analyzing long term trends.

Energy Performance Contracting

Upgrades to older buildings result in vast energy savings, also reducing pollution and lowering utility bill costs. Upgrades include replacing outdated lighting fixtures with energy efficient LED lighting, installing automatic shut off switches for lights, installing water conservation measures such as low flow faucets and toilets, replacing heating and air conditioning systems with more energy efficient models, and improving insulation and ventilation. Montgomery County is implementing a six-year plan to invest $120 million in facilities through energy performance contracting. The County is working with several energy performance contracting companies (ESPC) that recommend upgrades and guarantee energy efficiency and cost savings on utilities. The first project, the Health and Human Services Headquarters renovation completed in 2013, shows a dramatic decrease in energy use. From fiscal years 2013 through 2018, energy use has dropped approximately 19%.

What You Can Do

One of the easiest things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to replace the air filter frequently – every one to three months. A dirty filter slows air flow and makes the system work harder to keep you warm or cool. Replacing inefficient light bulbs with highly efficient LEDs, using EnergyStar rated appliances, and weatherizing your home can reduce your energy use dramatically. More…

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