Slashing energy use by 20% across 1.4 million square feet of building space wasn’t enough for West Palm Beach, FL. The South Florida city is building on its Better Buildings Challenge achievements by setting a new goal – reducing energy use by another 15% by 2025.
To hit that target, the city is planning energy efficiency upgrades for several new buildings and adding roughly 130,000 square feet of building space to the original Better Buildings Challenge group. Fire Stations No. 4 and 8 will be rebuilt to meet LEED Silver standards, and the Banyan Garage will be “transformed into an iconic multipurpose building targeting LEED Gold or Platinum,” according to the DOE, which administers the Better Buildings Challenge. The city is also upgrading its biosolids processing infrastructure and plans to add that site to its Better Buildings Challenge Portfolio.
Past upgrades include a 2011 street light retrofit that upgraded the lighting to LEDs. The replacements have improved public safety and cut the street lights’ energy consumption by 54% – a significant amount since the previous street lights accounted for 25% of the city’s energy spend in 2010. West Palm Beach now saves roughly $160,000 per year on energy and plans to retrofit over 3,000 more streetlights over the next five years at a cost of roughly $2.5 million.
“Energy efficiency projects accomplish so many of our goals,” says Jeri Muoio, Mayor of West Palm Beach. “We can improve public safety, reduce maintenance costs, reduce our carbon footprint and save money on our energy bills, which provides more resources for other programs that serve the citizens of West Palm Beach.”