Fulton County, Georgia is an example of how large-scale energy upgrades can save local governments millions of dollars and develop a new green workforce.
A retrofit program, funded by an $814,300 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was the topic of a recent video.
Under the program, more than a dozen county facilities are being upgraded with equipment such as occupancy sensors, digital thermostats and LED exit signs. County workers will also be trained on how to conduct the upgrades and keep buildings energy efficient.
One such worker is Robyn McNeil-English, a plumber who enrolled in Gwinnet Technical College's green program to learn about topics such as geothermal technology and energy efficiency. The course provided a bonus for McNeil-English. "It also has helped me with my own energy efficiency at home and how to conserve and save money," she says in the video.
A portion of Fulton County's EECBG funds will be used to replace roll-off containers at the Merck/Miles Road Solid Waste Transfer Center with high capacity compactors. The switch could slash operating costs at the facility from $300,000 to $120,000 per year, resulting in a savings of up to 60 percent.
With the savings, the county seeks to expand its recycling program from 18.9 tons to 80 tons a month, reducing the landfill by 20 percent.
In the video, Fulton County officials say the EECBG program has helped them achieve their energy goals and provided a needed boost during tough financial times. "We feel this is a great way to meet our economic challenges and environmental challenges," says John H. Eaves, Chairman of Fulton County Board of Commissioners.