As part of the Obama Administration’s efforts to cut energy waste in the nation’s buildings, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the city of West Palm Beach for their leadership in improving energy efficiency across 1.4 million square feet of building space by 20 percent within 10 years. The city of West Palm Beach has met their Better Buildings Challenge goal of 20 percent energy reduction and yesterday Mayor Jeri Muoio announced a new 15 percent energy reduction goal for 2025.
“West Palm Beach’s constant drive toward energy efficiency demonstrates to other cities across the U.S. what is possible with energy efficiency,” says Maria T. Vargas, director of the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge. “When cities lead the way with essential and innovative energy efficiency upgrade projects, they are demonstrating the leadership that we need to carry this nation’s buildings into the 21st century.”
The city of West Palm Beach is planning on committing a number of new buildings to receive a variety of energy-efficiency upgrades, adding on approximately 130,000 square feet of building space to the Better Buildings Challenge.
The department toured the city’s Evernia Garage, LED street light retrofits and the East Central Water Reclamation Facility. The East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility receives wastewater from the cities of West Palm Beach, Lake Worth and Riviera Beach, as well as the town of Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. The new Biosolids Improvement Project is currently under construction, and city of West Palm Beach announced that the site will be added to its portfolio of Better Buildings Challenge projects, along with Fire Stations No. 4 and No. 8, which will be rebuilt to meet LEED Silver standards and the Banyan Garage, which will be transformed into an iconic, multipurpose building, targeting LEED Gold or Platinum.
“Energy efficiency projects accomplish so many of our goals. We can improve public safety, reduce maintenance costs, reduce our carbon footprint and save money on our energy bills, which provides more resources for other programs that serve the citizens of West Palm Beach,” says Jeri Muoio, mayor of West Palm Beach. “We are proud to set an even higher efficiency goal with the Better Buildings Challenge, which demonstrates our commitment to these types of collaborative initiatives into the future.”
In 2011 the city initiated a comprehensive upgrade of street lights to new LED technology, which represented 25 percent of the city’s energy expenditure in 2010. The resulting fixture replacements are credited for enhancing public safety, reducing energy consumption and a 54 percent energy savings on streetlights. Through a collaboration with the utility, Florida Power and Light, West Palm Beach is reporting $160,000 per year in energy savings, and is dedicated to funding $2.5 million over five years to retrofit more than 3,000 more streetlights.
As a cornerstone of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Better Buildings Challenge is aimed at achieving the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating corporate and public-sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 250 organizations are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve 20 percent portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. Across the country, partners have shared energy data for more than 32,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 4,500 properties, and 10 percent or more at 12,000 properties. Learn more about Better Buildings Challenge partner results, showcase projects and innovative solutions being shared with others on the DOE’s Better Buildings page.