The City of Charlottesville has hired CMTA Energy Solutions to assess over 40 buildings in its government and school portfolio, seeking opportunities to drastically reduce energy and water use, achieve high levels of utility bill savings, and add renewable energy systems.
The Technical Energy Audits currently underway are part of the first phase of an Energy Saving Performance Contract process that aligns directly with fulfilling the city’s commitment to climate action and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
The city is pursuing an energy savings performance contract through a cooperative program offered by Virginia Energy, an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia. CMTA Energy Solutions’ work with the city supports the commitment to high performing buildings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
The audits include comprehensive data analysis and on-site walkthroughs of more than 40 buildings over the coming months – a total of 1.7 million square feet. CMTA Energy Solutions is collecting data on each building’s current systems and operations, looking for strategies to decrease energy and water use while achieving overall cost savings for Charlottesville.
“Most of the square footage in the City’s building portfolio is in schools, so projects like this ESPC and the pending facilities work for reconfiguration are key to improve efficiencies and make significant progress on climate goals,” says Kim Powell, Charlottesville City Schools chief operations officer.
Cost savings strategies and systems upgrades under consideration include standardizing HVAC equipment, HVAC controls, and plumbing fixtures citywide. Also anticipated are lighting upgrades to the latest cost-effective LED lights with occupancy sensors to reduce energy costs when spaces are not in use.
The city is assessing opportunities to expand the use of renewable energy resources through solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on various buildings, including schools. The city is also examining water use reduction opportunities, with future upgrades aligned with WaterSense specification, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the EPA designed to encourage water efficiency.
“We’re excited to be in this stage of the energy savings performance contract process to identify projects that will help move the needle on greenhouse gas reductions within the city’s municipal footprint. It is a major step towards achieving the city’s climate goals,” said Stacey Smalls, the city’s director of public sorks.
“The Facilities Maintenance Division has done an excellent job over the years of maintaining older equipment and building systems. It is impressive to see what they have done to keep energy usage as low as they can get with aging equipment and technology,” said Brian Duvall, CMTA principal engineer.
Once CMTA Energy Solutions completes its energy audit, an overall analysis with recommended next steps will be given to the City of Charlottesville. From there, city officials will review options and work with CMTA on the strategy to implement the identified opportunities and to further progress on climate action goals.