An aggressive package of energy-saving initiatives is expected to cut the county's electric bill in half, Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro says.
In a speech to the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Shapiro described some of the energy-savings actions taken at the county's four office buildings -- One Montgomery Plaza, the county courthouse, and the Human Services Center, all in Norristown, and the annex building in Willow Grove.
Among the measures: reorganizing county offices to better use the space; an energy-efficient retrofit planned for One Montgomery Plaza; an agreement in which the county gets paid to go off the grid (and sometimes onto generators) at peak times; and a water-saving program at the Eagleville correctional facility.
The county also contracted with a company to find and implement energy saving measures at the courthouse. Instead of charging the county directly, the company will retain a portion of the cost savings over the next several years.
When Shapiro's administration took over in 2012, the courthouse was using $600,000 worth of electricity each year and One Montgomery Plaza was using $400,000. Shapiro said the goal is to cut those figures in half by 2015. The water-saving program at Eagleville has already achieved a 50 percent savings, from $450,000 to $225,000 a year.
Smaller savings are also coming from "cultural changes in how we work and commute," Shapiro said. The county plans to replace its vehicle fleet with hybrid and electric cars; is in the process of switching from computer servers to cloud-based storage; encourages workers to turn off lights when offices are not being used; and has switched paper towel dispensers for a savings of $10,000 a year.