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Office of Energy and SustainabilitySuperior government service with the smallest possible environmental footprint

Energy Efficiency

Montgomery County uses the latest technology, innovative financing, and data analysis to maximize energy efficiency of its buildings.

Efficient Lighting

Montgomery County incorporates highly efficient LED lights into new buildings and building renovations whenever possible. LEDs use at least 75% less power than incandescent bulbs. They also produce very little heat and last significantly longer than less efficient bulbs, which means less money spent on cooling buildings in the summer and on maintaining buildings year round. In 2016, the County installed more than 1,500 new LED lights in Strathmore Concert Hall. The new lights are expected to save $93,203 each year and to provide the same greenhouse gas reductions as planting 13,000 trees or taking 100 cars off the road. Daylight harvesting also is used whenever possible. Daylight harvesting uses windows and skylights to maximize natural light. and uses Light sensors to adjust the electric light as daylight levels change throughout the day.

Efficient Heating and Cooling

Heating and cooling systems alone can account for a quarter of a building’s energy use. Highly efficient chillers and boilers combined with properly sealing and insulating the building have a big impact on energy efficiency. The County also regularly maintains heating and cooling systems. Simple maintenance, such as changing air filters frequently, dramatically improves system performance and saves energy. Some County facilities use innovative technologies to reduce energy use even further. For example, the White Oak Community Recreation Center in Silver Spring harnesses the steady 55-degree temperature underground with a geothermal heating and cooling system. The system combines underground pipes with electric heat pumps, eliminating the need for chillers or boilers and reducing energy consumption.

Using Data to Manage Building Energy Wisely

More than 80 County buildings have automated building controls that allow technicians to monitor and adjust building temperature, humidity levels, lighting, and more to save energy while keeping people comfortable and safe. Also, we closely monitor utility bill data for all of the County’s buildings to identify opportunities for refined building management and upgrades to reduce energy and water use.

Energy Performance Contracting

Upgrades to older buildings can save energy – reducing pollution and lowering utility bill costs. Upgrades can include replacing outdated lighting fixtures with energy efficient LED lighting, installing automatic shut off switches for lights, installing water conservation measures like low flow faucets and toilets, replacing heating and air conditioning systems with more energy efficient models, and improving insulation and ventilation. Montgomery County is implementing a six-year plan to invest $100 million in facilities through energy performance contracting. The County is working with several energy services companies (ESCO) that recommend upgrades and guarantee energy efficiency and cost savings on utilities. In total, these projects are expected to save more than $765,000 in utility bills each year. These actions also are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,650 metric tons each year. This is the equivalent of taking 560 cars off the road or planting 68,500 trees. The first project, the Health and Human Services Headquarters renovation completed in 2013, shows a dramatic decrease in energy use as shown in the diagram above. Energy use is measured in MMBTUs, a unit of energy measurement that includes electricity and natural gas. From fiscal years 2013 through 2016, energy use in MMBTUs dropped from 10,000 to 6,000 - a 40% reduction in energy consumption.

What You Can Do

One of the easiest things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to replace the air filter frequently – every one to three months. A dirty filter slows air flow and makes the system work harder to keep you warm or cool. Replacing inefficient light bulbs with highly efficient LEDs, using EnergyStar rated appliances, and weatherizing your home can reduce your energy use dramatically. More…

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