Energy Management

FY 2019 Program Report

Monitoring the use of electricity, natural gas, propane, and water is an important part of being good stewards of the environment and taxpayer dollars. This report provides an annual overview of both cost and consumption in county government facilities (not including Chesterfield County Public Schools) as well as an overview of programs and efforts related to energy efficiency and management.

Through several departments, county government maintains approximately 400 facilities totaling over 2 million square feet for various purposes. These facilities utilize nearly 720 utility accounts for electricity, natural gas, propane and water. Many facilities have 24/7/365 uses such as the Jail, Juvenile Detention Home, Mental Health Group Homes, 911 Center, Fire Stations, Utilities Pump Stations, 911 System Tower Sites and the Information Systems Department Data Center.

Expenditures

In FY19 the county government spent over $4.9 million dollars on utilities, which is a 0.3% increase from FY18. The categorical breakdown of costs is as follows:

CommodityFY17 CostFY18 CostFY19 Cost% Change FY18-19
Electricity$3,849,673$3,983,473$4,074,0912.3%
Water$418,366$435,798$415,771-4.6%
Natural Gas$420,298$457,661$407,685-10.6%
Propane$17,915$25,448$21,228-16.6%
Total$4,706,252$4,902,380$4,918,7750.3%


Consumption

Despite the slight increase in cost, the use of each commodity decreased in FY19 compared to FY18. 

CommodityFY17 UseFY18 UseFY19 Use% Change FY18-19
Electricity (kWh)37,591,79138,639,36938,043,821-1.5%
Water (Mgal)63,06561,48453,877-12.4%
Natural Gas (MCF)49,25158,09352,671-9.3%
Propane (Gal)18,37519,61517,210-12.3%


Existing Programs & Efforts

Demand Response

Demand Response, also known as load response, is a consumer’s voluntary reduction of their demand for electricity in response to a usage reduction request from the utility, in exchange for a monetary rebate. Demand Response programs help Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) decrease demand during extreme weather when demand on the grid is high. The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courthouse and the Community Development Building were part of this program in FY2019, generating a rebate of $7,174.

Energy Efficiency

In addition to demand response, the PJM (Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland) grid operator offers an Energy Efficiency program in which participants can receive rebates for installing energy efficient equipment or implementing more efficient processes/systems that exceed then-current codes, standards or demand. To qualify, an improvement must achieve a permanent reduction in demand for electricity. Common measures that may permanently reduce electric demand are lighting conversions to more efficient lamps or replacing heating and cooling systems with a more efficient system. Rebates are earned for four consecutive years after the project is submitted and approved. In FY19, Chesterfield submitted seventeen new projects and earned a rebate of $4,822 from projects previously submitted.

C’field Unplugged

C’field unplugged is a countywide behavioral-based energy awareness program, initiated in January 2018, to educate and encourage county employees to be good stewards of the environment while being conscious of how we spend tax dollars. In FY19, 60 county facilities showed a 1% or greater decrease in electricity use.

Facility Setpoints

For facilities equipped with building automation systems, efforts are being made to review day and night setpoints for consistency. As an example, in FY19, all setpoints in the Community Development Building were set to a more consistent temperature range and some terminal box operational issues were resolved. The facility has seen a consistent use reduction since these measures were instituted.

Dominion Energy Owned Outdoor LED Light Retrofits

Dominion has implemented numerous new options for LED streetlight conversions. Energy Management is pursuing options to begin retrofitting existing lights to achieve monetary savings.

Rate Evaluations

Annually, electric accounts are reviewed to make sure they are on the most advantageous rate schedule. This is especially important for the county’s larger facilities that have more to gain from a proper rate schedule. As a member of the Virginia Energy Purchasing Governmental Association (VEPGA), the county has fourteen different rates available from which to choose.

Audits 

Various audit measures are used during and after data imports to identify potential equipment malfunction, overbilling, missed billings and overlapping billings.

Facilities Design 

As further demonstration of upholding the County’s Strategic Goals of being a Model for Excellence in Government and promoting environmental stewardship, the County utilizes best practices in sustainable building financing, planning, design, construction, management, renovation, maintenance and decommissioning of its facilities.

VACO Go Green Program

The County recognizes, and actively participates in VACO Go Green, a program designed to encourage implementation of environmental policies and practical actions that reduce emissions and save local governments money. The County has been recognized with a Go Green Award for 8 consecutive years.

Equipment Check Out – Libraries 

Energy Management partnered with Libraries to initiate an energy monitoring and auditing equipment check out program for county residents. Libraries were given “Power Monitoring for Dummies” and “Watts Up” meters for residents to check out at branches throughout the county. The equipment can help homeowners determine the wattage of common household appliances and bring awareness to how much the items are contributing to their monthly electric bill.

General Services Fleet Services Division – Vehicle Alternative Fuels Program 

Fifty-seven Chesterfield County fleet vehicles consumed 115,790 gallons of liquid propane (LP) in FY19, accounting for 5% of the fleet’s total fuel consumption. The average purchase price of LP during the same time period was $1.41/gallon, which is approximately 23% less than unleaded and 38% less than diesel.

 

Awards & Recognition Received 

  • Green Government Challenge Award 
  • Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence
  • NACo Achievement Award for the C’field Unplugged Program

FY2020/2021 Initiatives

Solar

The county plans to explore and implement solar power purchase agreements (PPA) in several facilities. A Power Purchase Agreement is a method of acquiring renewable energy via solar with no upfront or ongoing costs. The vendor owns, installs and maintains the solar panels and sells the power generated back to the customer at a predetermined reduced price. New construction as well as existing facilities will be considered as possible candidates. It is estimated this program could generate a 20% savings on electric costs for the participating facilities. 

Demand Response

In Fiscal Year 2020, the demand response program is transitioning to a year-round program and two additional county facilities will be enrolled in the program.

LED Street Light Conversions

A project to convert 156 Dominion Energy owned streetlights was initiated in FY20. The project has a payback of 15 months. Since the LED fixtures carry a lower monthly cost, it is estimated that the totalized streetlight invoice will be reduced by $19,500 annually once the conversions are complete. This is a 2.2% savings on the County’s annual streetlight expenditure.

Harmonic Filter Pilot

In early FY20, harmonic filters were placed on the electric panels at Ettrick-Matoaca Library as a pilot project. These filters are intended to decrease electricity use by eliminating harmonic oscillation and increasing efficiency. Use data on the facility will be monitored throughout the year to evaluate the effectiveness of the filters and determine plans for future additional installations.