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Charlottesville hires firm to assess energy efficiency in government and school buildings

Charlottesville is looking to be environmentally friendly and save some bucks at the same time.

The city has hired CMTA Energy Solutions, an energy auditing firm, to check out its 40 buildings, including city schools, to find ways to cut power usage, reduce water use and lower its utility bills. In the process, it hopes to add some renewable energy systems as well.

The building audits are part of the first phase of the city’s effort to fulfill its commitment to climate action and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

The city is conducting the audits as part of its Energy Savings Performance Contract through a cooperative program offered by a state agency, Virginia Energy. The audits include data analysis and inspections of the city’s buildings. The contractor will collect data on each building’s existing systems and operation while looking for ways to decrease energy and water use and save money.

“Most of the square footage in the city’s building portfolio is in schools, so projects like this and the pending facilities work for reconfiguration are key to improve efficiencies and make significant progress on climate goals,” said Kim Powell, Charlottesville City Schools chief operations officer.

Strategies and upgrades under consideration include standardizing the controls, plumbing fixtures and heating and air-conditioning equipment in city facilities. Officials are considering upgrading to the latest cost-effective LED lights with occupancy sensors to reduce energy costs when spaces are not in use.

The city is considering expanding its renewable energy resources through solar photo cell panels on various buildings, including schools, and is also upgrading its water systems to meet WaterSense specifications.

WaterSense is a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to encourage water efficiency.

Once the audit firm completes the work, city officials will review options and work with the company to implement the recommendations.

– From staff reports


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