Oakland County Executive Office Building receives Energy Star rating and $4M in savings

Saving
money is nice, but being green and being a leader are also behind the
decision of Oakland County’s government to invest in energy efficient
methods and technology.


Actions such as reducing lighting,
adjusting thermostats, and even using moisture sensors to prevent
over-watering have earned the Oakland County Executive Office Building,
on Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford, an Energy Star rating from the
Environmental Protection Agency. Those actions have also reduced energy
consumption on the government campus by 10 percent, saving about $4
million.


Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson wants the energy consumption reduced by
another 15 percent in the next five years, said Oakland County Director
of Facilities Management Art Holdsworth; Patterson issued an OakGreen Challenge to all communities, businesses, and homes in the county to
reduce consumption 10 percent by 2012.


“We’ve been
doing things like this … as a way of doing what we can to get our
energy costs down and be more green,” Holdsworth says. “All these
things, in total, are a significant energy savings.”


Years ago when the county bought the
building from the Oakland County Intermediate School District, it installed double-paned windows and other energy-efficient
technologies during the building renovation, to the tune of several
million dollars. So the green efforts aren’t really a matter of making
back its investment, but doing the right, and smart, thing.


“Oakland
County always prides itself on being a leader, and leading by example,
especially among local government, and demonstrate to the private sector
it can be done,” Holdworth says.


The U.S. Dept of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program
awarded the county $4.8 million in November to use over the next three
years for energy-efficient measures, he explains. “With $4.8 million,
we’re able to do an awful lot of things over the next couple of years,”
he adds. Planned projects range from replacing old light bulbs to
geothermal heat and photovoltaic solar energy panels.


Meanwhile,
Oakland County will open its first LEED certified building in 2011 as it begins to
construct Michigan’s first green airport terminal. The new terminal at
Oakland County International Airport in Waterford will feature
sustainable options such as wind power generating technology, geothermal
heat, and landscaping that uses rain water irrigation. A number of recycled materials will be used in the construction. The terminal will be smaller
than the former building but the space will be used more efficiently. It
will include airport offices, a U.S. Customs Service office, and a
high-tech telecommuting meeting room to reduce travel time and costs.

Source: Art Holdsworth, director
of facilities management for
Oakland County

Writer: Kristin Lukowski