Every Day is Energy Efficiency Day at CA
Energy efficiency is all about using less energy to get the same job done — a win-win for protecting the environment and lowering energy costs.
CA is proud to champion this mission every day of the year, but we’re especially excited that Energy Efficiency Day (October 5) is dedicated to raising awareness and celebrating the benefits of reducing energy consumption.
In honor of this special day, CA Director of Sustainability Jeremy Scharfenberg is sharing how energy efficiency is fundamental to our operations and how you can easily cut back on energy waste, too.
Why does energy efficiency matter?
Energy efficiency is key to creating a healthier planet and a healthier wallet. It reduces carbon emissions associated with energy use which helps reduce the threat of climate change. It also lowers energy costs and helps create green jobs.
At CA, our partnerships have been crucial to our success in reducing our energy usage by 30 percent in the last decade. We’ve partnered with BGE for many years to make our operations more energy efficient (here’s a video about our work with the Smart Energy Savers Program). CA has also been an ENERGY STAR Partner for nearly a decade, and we have received four ENERGY STAR Excellence Awards from the U.S. EPA and U.S. DOE for our work promoting energy efficiency.
Introducing our first commercial electric vehicle
Electric vehicles (EVs) convert electricity directly into movement, making them more efficient than the standard fuel-burning car (which wastes most of the fuel energy as heat). We couldn’t be more excited to recently welcome the first fully electric commercial vehicle to the CA Facility Services fleet!
Each year, this Ford E-Transit van will reduce fuel consumption by 500 gallons and greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 lbs. And to make this electric vehicle even cleaner, the power to charge it each day is offset by wind renewable energy certificates.
This is just the beginning of our work to continue to electrify our fleet. As technology advances, we are making plans to ensure we have enough power at our maintenance facility to recharge more electric trucks in the next 5-10 years.
We ❤️ our combined heat and power unit
Did you know that CA installed an innovative combined heat and power (CHP) unit at Supreme Sports Club in 2015? The CHP system was one of the first of its kind in Howard County.
By burning natural gas to generate hot water and electricity at the same time, it results in significant energy efficiency benefits. Thanks to the CHP unit, CA was able to protect the environment and save about $25,000 a year in utility costs.
Embracing heat pumps
CA is excited to shift toward advanced heat pumps to support the decarbonization movement — basically, this is an air conditioner that can work in reverse to create heat. The efficiency benefits lie in the fact that it can produce two to five times more heat energy than the electrical energy used to operate the heat pump.
We currently have four dual fuel heat pumps installed in CA facilities, and four more on the way as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Low Carbon pilot. These new units are replacing traditional air conditioning units that only used natural gas for heating.
Environmentally friendly lighting
LED lights can reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent when compared to a traditional incandescent light bulb. These eco-friendly lights work great in all applications and can last up to 10 years.
CA has retrofitted nearly all of its lighting fixtures, inside and out, to LED, which has resulted in improved lighting and reduced costs. Our exterior LED light fixtures are also full-cutoff, meaning that all the light is focused downward and no energy is lost illuminating the space above the light fixture, significantly reducing light pollution.
Our most recent retrofit was at the Supreme Sports Club Arena this past month. You can learn more about LED technology on the ENERGY STAR website.
How you can commit to an energy efficient future
Making your home more energy efficient doesn’t have to be complicated! You can start with the simple things — like being aware about turning off your lights and appliances, and using less hot water.
Another idea to consider is to install a heat pump. Heat pumps are a great way to heat and cool your home while saving energy and reducing fossil fuel consumption. If you are planning to replace your HVAC system, ask your installer about a heat pump option and you can keep your existing natural gas system as an auxiliary when temperatures are too cold for the heat pump to operate.
For more ideas, check out this helpful list of tips from the Energy Efficiency Day website. There are also various programs to help Columbia residents be more energy efficient. The BGE webpage and ENERGY STAR webpage are great resources for information on rebates, products and incentives. Changes big and small can make an important difference!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more energy efficiency tips to celebrate Energy Efficiency Day! #EEDay2022