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Energy Efficiency Projects

Douglas County is pursuing cost-effective projects that reduce energy wasted in our buildings. By using energy efficient equipment, and conserving energy where we can, we're saving money.

In 2011, the County adopted Sustainability Goals, including our goal for energy efficiency to "Reduce energy consumption by 30% by 2015. (using 2009 baseline)."  To meet this ambitious goal, we have made energy efficiency a top priority for all building equipment decisions.  As of the end of 2013, we have already reduced energy consumption in our buildings by 17%, substantial progress towards our goal!  View:  Energy Efficiency Progress Report:  April, 2014 (PDF format).

We started by conducting an energy audit of our County's buildings and facilities. We are following the recommendations of the audit, prioritizing projects based upon which have the best potential for saving energy and money.

 

 Here is a representative list of the major energy efficiency projects we've undertaken in recent years.

  • In August 2010, we replaced the County Courthouse boiler, which had been in service since 1976. We replaced it with a new, 99% efficient boiler.  We also sealed and weatherized our historic windows, a project that will both save energy and preserve the historic character of the Courthouse.
  • In late 2010, we also initiated a project to retrofit the Judicial Law Enforcement Building – completing a major upgrade to the energy controls and systems.
  • In 2011, we installed a 4.2 kW solar photovoltaic system on the Douglas County Extension Office to offset 20% of that building’s use with renewable energy.
  • In 2012, we completed lighting retrofits at the fairgrounds' Building 21, at the Douglas County Extension Office, and at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department.
  • In 2012, we assisted the United Way building with their purchase of a new boiler, replacing their 40-year-old energy hog.
  • In 2012, we completed an exterior and parking lot lighting retrofit at Youth Services.
  • In 2013, we completed a controls upgrade at the County Courthouse, to better control and automate the building’s HVAC system.
  • In 2015-2016, we integrated energy efficiency upgrades into the renovation of the Douglas County Fairgrounds, including LED lighting upgrades at the new Flory Meeting Hall, KSU Extension Office, and Indoor Arena.
  • In 2016, we upgraded the heating and air conditioning systems at the Youth Services Facility, which led to improvements in energy use, air quality, and comfort.
  • In 2016, we partnered with the City of Lawrence of their Facilities Conservation Improvement Project, which included energy efficiency upgrades to the joint city-county Community Health Building.  These upgrades included a conversion to LED lights, new chillers, new boilers, and new roof.
  • In 2017-2018, we are working up LED lighting upgrades as part of significant renovations to our County Courtrooms in the Judicial and Law Enforcement Building.
  • We've added aerators to all of our faucets to conserve water and energy.
  • Most of our facilities have programmable thermostats, and we've already upgraded most of our lighting to T-8 fluorescent bulbs.  

This internal county fund is used to help pay for projects recommended in our energy audit, and that help Douglas County meet our sustainability goals. Funds can be used to pay for projects that save energy and reduce maintenance costs (i.e. LED lighting) or promote the implementation of innovative sustainability solutions (i.e. renewable energy). The cost savings that result from these projects are then re-invested into the Fund. This provides a predictable and ongoing reserve of money for sustainability and energy improvement projects, eliminating the up-front budget impact to departments.