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Think Green! logoCity Initiatives - Energy

Energy Use in City Buildings

Associated with a reduction in air emissions is energy use. The city has started monitoring and tracking energy use within government buildings. After current usage rates are determined, the city will develop a plan to reduce energy use. The same methodology will be followed for solid waste, recycling, and water use.

Image of light bulbThe Buildings & Maintenance division has taken a number of approaches in making city facilities greener and more energy efficient:

  • Replacement of standard fluorescent lamps and ballasts with new, energy-efficient lamps and electronic ballasts.
  • Replacement of incandescent exit lights with higher efficiency LED units, or light-emitting diode indicators.
  • Selection of high-efficiency air conditioning units for new construction, renovations and maintenance replacements, in efforts to save energy and costs.
  • Replacement of electric water heater tanks on an "as needed" basis with tanks that use less natural gas when possible.
  • Installation of motion sensors to control room lighting.
  • Application of white reflective roof coatings on metal roofs to reduce cooling costs.
  • Installation of motion activated faucets and flush valves to reduce water consumption.
  • Installation of digital air conditioning system controls to regulate temperatures and operating hours.
  • Scheduling Progress Energy to perform energy audits on larger city buildings to help identify additional steps to lower energy consumption.

Gas as an Alternate Energy Source

Green energy is a term used to describe environmentally-friendly sources of power and energy. Typically, this refers to renewable and non-polluting energy sources. Green energy includes natural processes that can be harnessed with little pollution, and environmentally friendly natural gas is a leader in the green revolution.

Did you know that nature's cleanest-burning fuel could enhance your lifestyle while increasing the value of your home? Natural gas is the natural choice for homeowners that desire improved air quality, energy efficiency, more comfort and unparalleled reliability.

Learn how gas can help lower costs, increase your comfort, and be kinder to the environment than other energy methods.

To experience a "greener" home or business, call Clearwater Gas System at (727) 298-3540 to inquire if natural gas is available in your area, or visit the Clearwater Gas System Web site.

2010 2011 Gas Water Heating Federal Tax Credits for Homeowners

Clearwater Gas System, your hometown energy provider, offers energy-efficient and "green" solutions to Clearwater homeowners homeowner. Now is the time to go green and qualify for up to $350 in federal tax credits when purchasing a tankless gas water heater for residential use. The credit applies to all homeowners who purchase and install a qualifying tankless water heater between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

For more information, contact Clearwater Gas System at 727-562-4980 727-298-3540 or visit www.foreverhotwater.com.

*Tankless water heater must have an Energy Factor (EF) of .082 or greater to qualify for tax credit

Hybrid Vehicle Program: Fleet & Transportation

The City of Clearwater currently uses hybrid vehicles in its vehicle fleet operations to save energy and fuel costs. During 2004, the city purchased three hybrid vehicles for the Police Department, two Toyota Priuses, and one Honda Civic for efficiency and environmental testing. Test results indicated that the hybrid vehicle could be used; so, eight additional Prius cars have been purchased through last year.

The results for these additional vehicles in miles per gallon (MPG) have been close to our test units, with an average of all vehicles to be near 45 MPG. It appears that driving habits play a large role in performance data, as well as the combination of highway versus city driving. The industry has stated - and our data supports - that hybrid vehicles perform better in city driving. The highway use seems to decrease the miles per gallon figures.

The availability of hybrid vehicles has increased considerably since 2004. The following is a list of vehicles that are on the Florida Sheriff's Contract and their prices. Look closely at the range of prices, and you will see a huge disparity between both models:

HYBRID VEHICLE PRICE STANDARD VEHICLE PRICE MPG DIFF
Chevrolet Malibu $21,000 Chevrolet Malibu $17,500 4
Honda Civic $23,200 Honda Civic $17,000 8
Toyota Prius $21,800      
Ford Escape $23,500 Ford Escape $14,000 12
Chevrolet Tahoe $40,500 Chevrolet Tahoe $24,600  
GMC Yukon $42,000 GMC Yukon $24,700  
Ford Escape 4X4 $24,900 Ford Escape $15,500 12
Mercury Mariner $26,000      
Chevrolet Tahoe $43,500 Chevrolet Tahoe $28,200  
GMC Yukon $45,000 GMC Yukon $28,400  
Toyota Highlander $32,300      

Image of natural gas powered HondaNext year, several manufacturers are submitting additional vehicles into the hybrid market that could be appealing to the city's vehicle fleet. The Chevrolet Malibu is expected to achieve much higher MPG figures with a completely revised engine and battery package. The Chevrolet pick up truck will enter the market in the half-ton version, and their numbers are expected to show higher margins. Additionally, the large truck manufacturers have been testing hybrid versions for the past two years and are expected to start production of these vehicles.

Clearwater Gas System recently added a new member to its environmentally-friendly family by purchasing a natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX. For more natural gas vehicle information visit www.clearwatergas.com

The City of Clearwater will continue to explore all options to see how we can save money, resources, and energy by implementing hybrid vehicles into the city's fleet operation.

Image of glow stickLED Traffic Signals and Pedestrian Crossing Signs

The city's Traffic Operations division of Engineering is now saving energy - and thousands of dollars - in traffic signal repair and replacement. By switching to a new, more energy-efficient technology, the division has converted the bulbs in 90% of the city's signaled intersections from the standard 167-watt incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diode indicators, or LED bulbs. Of the city's 145 signaled intersections, traffic lights for 143 have been converted to LED lighting. 100% of the pedestrian-crossing signs have also been converted to LED lighting.

LED bulbs use less energy than incandescent bulbs and cost a lot less. In order to meet the electric load a signal needs in order to be seen so drivers can stop safely, incandescent bulbs require more electricity than LEDs, in turn, costing more. LED bulbs reduce power usage, which has drastically lowered the city's traffic signal electric bill. By converting to LED-type indications, the city saves 82%, or about $77,567 per year, on its traffic electric bill.

An additional savings with LEDs bulbs is that they last longer. City workers previously had to replace incandescent bulbs yearly, but the new LED bulbs get replaced every seven to ten years. And, since it takes two workers four hours to switch all the bulbs in one intersection, this is safer for utility workers and saves energy, time, and money. For more information, contact the Traffic Division of the Engineering Department.

Motor Conversion in Wastewater Treatment Facilities

The Utilities department's Motor Conversion Project reduces kilowatt usage and lowers electrical costs at wastewater treatment facilities throughout the city. This project has been in effect for more than a year, and city was able to obtain figures from January to March 2008 as comparisons to show a consistent reduction in electrical costs and saves energy. Read the Motor Conversion Project's "How It Works" document to learn more.

Senior Transportation

The city partnered with Neighborly Care Network on the EZride senior transportation initiative. The EZride service is a membership program, providing trips at an affordable rate in hybrid vehicles. The city assists with promotion, staff support, limited financial support and technical assistance on hybrid vehicles. EZride utilizes three hybrid vehicles resulting in the first hybrid-based senior transportation service in the United States. This is one of our energy-efficient initiatives for our senior community.

Solar Powered "Pay & Display" Parking Meters

A new type of parking meter has been available at Clearwater Beach since November 2007, and now we're taking them to South Beach. Twenty solar-powered Multi-Space Pay & Display parking meter units will be installed in Summer 2008 in the south beach parking lots, currently operated by parking attendants. These lots include Pier 60, South Gulfview, and two temporary lots.

The solar powered meters save energy since they contain a battery that is charged by the sun, ensuring that the meters are always functioning on an online system.

The meters are already in use at the parking lot on East Shore Drive, just before the roundabout. These state-of-the-art meters are easy to use and are even pre-programmed in English, Spanish, German, and French. First insert your payment; they accept bills, coins, and credit cards. Then decide how long you plan to stay at the beach. Select from one hour to all day. And that's it... just print the ticket, place it on your dashboard, and head out to the beach!

For more information about beach parking, visit the Parking System Web site.