Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

County Energy Sustainability Measures to Save Taxpayers Over $137,000 Annually

June 04, 2013
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
County Executive



Recent Report Shows Upgrades Have Reduced Energy Consumption 17%


Energy efficiency measures implemented in several county buildings with the help of a federal grant are reducing building energy consumption by 17% and saving taxpayers $137,728 annually, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.


“By investing in sustainability solutions the county is not only reducing our environmental impact, we’re reducing costs and saving money for taxpayers,” said Parisi.  “These common sense practices are in line with other efforts being implemented throughout county government that are allowing us control energy costs and reduce our energy consumption for years to come.” 


In 2010, Dane County received a $500,000 grant from the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, funded via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). 


Between 2010 and 2012, the county used those funds to complete a number of energy efficiency projects in county buildings, including the City-County Building (CCB), Public Safety Building (PSB), Alliant Energy Center (AEC) and Dane County Courthouse. 


The CCB’s heating and cooling system was upgraded with occupancy sensors – instead of running at a constant rate and wasting energy, the new system turns off and on automatically depending on need throughout the building.


Another innovative upgrade uses waste heat from 911 Center chiller equipment, which must run constantly to help keep the center’s extensive computer technology functional, and uses it to heat domestic hot water throughout the CCB. 


The PSB was upgraded with a solar hot water system that saves energy in that facility by preheating water through rooftop solar panels before it enters the water heater, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the water.


"Dane County has adopted sustainability into its operations as well as its infrastructure,” said Dane County Supervisor Robin Schmidt, chair of the Public Works and Transportation Committee – the first Committee to go paperless and reduce it's carbon footprint. 


Supervisor Schmidt added that sustainability was also the driving factor when rebuilding the Badger Prairie Health Care Facility, which incorporates several energy efficient technologies including geothermal heating and cooling. 


Sustainable Engineering Group, LLC, the company that identified and implemented the energy saving measures, released a report outlining how upgrades and renovations have already resulted in savings, and have helped exceed the county’s goals for reducing energy consumption.


“Dane County should be commended for its focus on increasing energy efficiency and sustainability throughout its facilities,” said Mike Barnett of Sustainable Engineering Group.  “By implementing numerous practical improvements, they are already seeing a return on their investment that will last for years to come.”


The county has made investing in innovative technology to increase sustainability and reduce its environmental impact a priority.  The county recently broke ground on a new airport maintenance garage that will feature the largest municipally owned solar array in the state. 


Plans to build a ‘green’ highway garage are moving forward as well.  Once complete, the building will be heated by waste heat from generators at the nearby county landfill that turn decaying trash into electricity for the grid. 


The county is also expanding its efforts to turn more garbage at the landfill into bio compressed natural gas (BioCNG) and convert more county fleet vehicles to run on the fuel.  This cheaper, cleaner, home-grown fuel only costs the county around $1 a gallon, versus nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline, saving taxpayers tens of thousands annually.


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