Managing Energy Costs in Municipal Government Facilities

Municipal governments are responsible for overseeing a diverse array of buildings and facilities, including large and small administrative buildings, libraries, indoor and outdoor recreation centers, schools, and wastewater treatment plants. In addition, they are typically responsible for streetlights, parking structure lights, and traffic signals. This article examines energy consumption and savings opportunities for office buildings and outdoor lighting, which represent a significant portion of controllable energy use and offer opportunities for cost-effective energy savings.

In a typical office building, lighting, heating, and cooling represent almost 70 percent of total energy use (Figure 1), making those systems the best targets for energy savings. Energy represents about 19 percent of total expenditures for the typical office building, which is a significant operational cost that deserves attention from facility management.

Average energy use data

Figure 1: Energy consumption by end use
Ventilation and computers dominate electricity end uses in municipal facilities. Heating accounts for more than 80 percent of natural gas consumption in these structures.
Pie chart showing electricity end uses: Ventilation, 22%; Computers, 22%; Miscellaneous, 22%; Lighting, 17%; Cooling, 12%; and Office, 5%.
Pie chart showing natural gas end uses: Heating, 86%; Water heating, 10%; and Cooking, 4%.

Streetlighting plays an important role in enhancing public safety and aesthetics. However, it can account for as much as 40 percent of a municipality’s electric bill. Converting older lighting technologies to LEDs or other advanced technologies is one way that municipalities can reduce costs while enhancing the nighttime landscape.

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