The Energy Star City: Roanoke's Quest to Reduce Consumption and Emissions

By Cronin, Kenneth S. | The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA), September 22, 2013 | Go to article overview

The Energy Star City: Roanoke's Quest to Reduce Consumption and Emissions


Cronin, Kenneth S., The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA)


In 2006, the city of Roanoke declared its strong commitment to be a leader in environmental stewardship and set goals for reducing its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Roanoke has been moving forward to reduce energy use and GHG in municipal operations ever since. We believe our investment is a prudent use of taxpayers' money.

The city reduced overall energy consumption by 11 percent between 2005 and 2012 while increasing square footage by 3percent. Municipal GHG emissions also dropped 15 percent in three years, beating city council's goal of a 12.5 percent reduction in five years. If these initiatives were not undertaken, energy costs would have been $577,000 higher, and these savings will increase with time as utility rates continue to rise. In addition to greenhouse gas reductions, using less energy reduces other air emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury that have immediate human health and environmental consequences. These are the results. However, it is important to share how these efforts began.

Working with faculty from Virginia Tech and James Madison University, the first step was to complete an energy use inventory for municipal buildings, lighting and vehicles for the baseline year, 2005. Results were clear: Buildings used the most energy (50 percent) and produced the most greenhouse gases (60percent), though the vehicle fleet and lighting sectors had significant greenhouse gas contributions at 20 percent each.

Upon completion of the baseline analysis, city council set a stretch goal for municipal operations to reduce GHG emissions by 12.5 percent over a five-year period. Using the baseline analysis as a road map, city staff completed lighting retrofits in buildings, installed motion sensors, performed major upgrades to heating and air-conditioning systems and changed out half of the signalized intersections in the city to LEDs (light-emitting diodes are long-lasting, bright and highly energy-efficient lights).

At the same time, city council committed to constructing all new buildings to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard. Additionally, the Department of Technology began using Energy Star-endorsed equipment that reduces power consumption by forcing dormant desktop computers (more than 1,000) into "power saver" mode, and computer servers were reduced from 80 to 60 by adopting an energy saving "virtual server" standard. The Transportation Division changed 438 city-owned streetlights to LEDs.

In fleet operations, Roanoke was the first community in western Virginia to use biodiesel, employ "street use" all-electric vehicles and inflate vehicle tires with nitrogen (nitrogen is a larger molecule than oxygen, thus deterring air leakage, extending tire life and increasing fuel economy). Additionally, most of the lawn mower fleet was converted to use propane fuel, which burns cleaner than diesel or gasoline and is produced primarily in the United States.

In 2009, Roanoke received a $963,700 energy block grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. These funds were committed directly to municipal energy efficiency. Projects included changing the balance of city traffic signals (80 intersections) to LEDs; a complete lighting retrofit at the courthouse; installation of solar-powered LED flashers at four schools; LED lights in a parking garage; and using direct digital controls, energy saving motors and variable frequency drives in the courthouse that save energy and reduce maintenance by enabling mechanical systems to operate at peak efficiency.

The Roanoke Civic Center, by far the city's largest building, has a number of initiatives under way using city funds to pay for energy improvements. Projects include a total revamp of the heating and air conditioning system, including installation of a magnetic bearing chiller, updated DDC controls and new, state-of-the-art LED lighting for the Coliseum, one of the first such systems in the United States. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Energy Star City: Roanoke's Quest to Reduce Consumption and Emissions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.