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: Consumption by end use for large and small administrative office buildings
Lighting and cooling dominate electricity end use in large and small municipal facilities (A, B), while heating accounts for over 80 percent of natural gas consumption in these structures (C, D).
Pie charts illustrating percentages of end use consumption by electricity and natural gas for both types of building.

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.

Quick Fixes
Longer-Term Solutions
Content last reviewed: 
09/29/2015