One of the biggest opportunities that we have to reduce our impact, environmental and otherwise, is in how we use energy. Whether it is at home, at work, in school or around town, there are things we can all do to conserve electricity and natural gas, and to limit fossil fuel usage in particular. Most of these have the added advantage of reducing our utility bills.
In Fort Lauderdale, we are fortunate enough to have over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. That is sunshine that can provide light, heat and energy if used the right way. On the other hand, our rain brings us benefits as well. Rain in the summer allows you to turn off the irrigation system, saving water, and also saving the electricity used to run the system. Finally, all that sun and rain make it easy to grow a beautiful garden full of native plants, and a properly placed native tree can provide shade and cooling deflect heat and lower a building's energy demand.
We have had a great start in our City.
Several years ago, our City joined the ENERGY STAR® Change the World Campaign to educate residents about the changes individuals can make by employing conservation practices at home and by using energy-efficient products. Our community rose to the challenge of modernization with nearly 1,500 individual citizen pledges to make specific changes.
In 2011, we established the Smart Watts Program to educate homeowners and contractors about lowering electricity usage and increasing energy efficiency. More than 1,000 residents attended over 57 home energy saver workshops, took the energy saver pledge and received conversion tool kits. Rebates of $236,400 were distributed or encumbered to over 200 households for permanently installed energy retrofits. 97 contractors participated in the Smart Watts Exchange.
The City of Fort Lauderdale is also taking steps to reduce our own energy usage, which is good for the environment, and also a wise way to invest taxpayer dollars. These steps include:
- Installing software to power down hardware automatically after hours, including such things as computers, printers, and copiers on our City networks.
- Replacing traditional parking meters with those run on solar power. Solar Parking Meters.
- Retro-fitting or replacing fixtures in buildings and garages for LED Lighting, including our City Hall Commission Chambers.
- Piloting wind turbines to power electric vehicle charging stations at one of our parks.
- Utilizing geothermal heaters at some of our parks swimming pools.
We have also begun the process of auditing our energy usage to determine when and where we use it most heavily. Based on this analysis, we can prioritize further changes to our buildings, work practices, purchases and policies.
We invite you to follow our lead! Use this section of our website to learn about renewable energy and to get energy saving tips. You will find ways to calculate your energy usage, adopting new routines, find great energy-saver products and decrease your own energy usage.
Visit these websites for general information about energy efficiency and conservation challenges in our nation, state and area. See Our Favorite Energy Conservation Websites for useful tips, checklists, educational videos, product listings and more.
DoE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) "accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality." They do this by offering technical assistance, grants, educational programs, and publications to agencies, organizations and the general public. This website is a tour through all of the various energy challenges and opportunities that our nation is facing: from renewable electricity generation to clean energy manufacturing, and of course sustainable building.
This is an easy-to-read series of webpages devoted to answering the simple question: What is energy efficiency? It covers everything from a basic definition, to why energy efficiency is critical, and who is working on it, as well as what challenges and opportunities we have in the future to save energy of all types.
Not just for homeowners, this site is all about simplifying the energy conservation conversation for Floridians. Covering energy alternatives, programs, policies, utilities, educational opportunities, businesses and research our home state. A sub-site offers practical advice for residents.
This website introduces you to the County's approach to growing energy choice and sustainability in our region, via such initiatives as Energy Sense, the Seal of Sustainability, the Star Community Rating System, and more.
The FESC bring together our state's universities to work on the challenges of energy conservation. The website offers a great overview of various types of energy, as well as an introduction to the state laws regarding energy rating and related topics. There are also national and international energy facts and statistics.