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How One Delaware County is Saving Money and Creating Jobs

April 26, 2011 - 3:23pm

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Federal, state and county officials were in New Castle County, Delaware last week to kick off the next phase of the county’s Smart Energy Program, which has helped to reduce energy waste, save taxpayer dollars and contribute to a cleaner environment. Phase 1, which upgraded the energy infrastructure of the Louis Redding City County Building, will save more than $355,000 annually. The success of this first phase convinced the county to expand the project to an additional 20 county facilities.

Phase 2 is estimated to save more than $450,000 in utility costs annually and reduce CO2 emissions by 11.8 million pounds, the equivalent to removing more than 1,000 polluting cars off of the road. The project was funded with a $3.8 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, provided through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. New Castle County leveraged the grant with a $4 million county bond which enabled the county to expand the scope of the project and incorporate additional conservation measures.

New Castle County's Smart Energy Program | Courtesy of New Castle County's YouTube Page

New Castle County worked with Ameresco, an energy services company, to identify saving opportunities and implement energy solutions. Ameresco identified 158 conservation measures, including heat pump and boiler replacements, high-efficiency motors, lighting retrofits and controls, and a white reflective roof. The project impacts over 20 facilities and 461,643 square feet of building space.

Solar arrays also will be installed on the Government Center and Hockessin Library roofs and will provide 128 kilowatts of electricity to the two buildings. This will help Delaware meet its renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent renewable energy production by 2025.

In addition to generating energy savings, this project will help stimulate the economy and create local, green jobs. These projects create a ripple effect through out the economy due to an increased demand for local goods and services. Ameresco also sourced materials from local clean energy manufacturers, including Motech Americas and Solardock.

“The Smart Energy Program is a win for everyone,” County Executive Paul Clark said. “Our employees work in healthier and efficient buildings, we’re managing taxpayer funds more wisely, we’re growing a green economy and leading by example.” To increase public awareness, kiosks at the Hockessin Library and Government Center will detail in real time the solar energy that is produced.

Visit www.nccde.org/gogreen to learn more about this and other environmental initiatives.

Tweedie Doe is a Project Officer at the Golden Field Office.

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