District Continues to Support Governor’s Green Initiative

Florida-friendly landscaping in Bartow

The Bartow Service Office is one of the three District offices to earn a Florida Yard certification for using Florida-friendly landscaping.

Since Gov. Charlie Crist announced his green initiative in 2007, the District has taken significant steps toward reducing its carbon footprint. Through the Environmental Stewardship Initiative, the District examines its entire operation for opportunities to achieve greater efficiencies and further reduce its carbon emissions.

“The District continues to explore new ways to meet and exceed the Governor’s expectations through technology and efficient use of our resources,” said Gene Schiller, deputy executive director for the Division of Management Services and executive sponsor for this initiative. “In addition, the District also partners with the Department of Environmental Protection and the other water management districts to coordinate and share ideas.”

Here are some of the latest changes the District has made to conserve water and energy.

Water Savings

Facilities staff worked with the Conservation Projects Section to explore and evaluate water-saving products. This led to retrofitting the toilets in the disabled and women’s restrooms in Brooksville with new Sloan ECOS Electronic Dual Flush Valves. These new valves have two flush options, a full flush of 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or a reduced flush of 1.1 gpf. The reduced flush equates to a savings of up to 30 percent.

The valve works by emitting a continuous invisible light beam, which detects a user. If the user leaves in 65 seconds or less, a reduced flush occurs. If the user stays longer than 65 seconds, a full flush occurs unless the user manually overrides the system by selecting a reduced flush.

In addition to saving water, these valves are made from a high level of recycled materials, are 100 percent recyclable and are made at a plant where 100 percent of the energy used in manufacturing is offset with wind power, a renewable energy source.

In Brooksville, Bartow and Sarasota, Facilities staff worked with their county Extension office’s Florida Yards & Neighborhoods program to earn a Florida Yard certification. This designation recognizes Florida-friendly landscapes that are environmentally friendly by saving water, reducing fertilizer and pesticide runoff, and providing native habitat for birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

Energy Savings

As whole or portions of buildings are renovated or repaired, Facilities staff is continuing to install newer, more efficient fixtures to replace older, less efficient ones. For instance, during the remodel of the Tampa Data Center, new energy-efficient Low-E® windows and a high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) chilled water system were installed. In addition, a building automation system to control lighting, cooling and heating, as well as energy-saving T-8 fluorescent lighting fixtures with efficient electronic ballasts controlled with occupancy sensors were installed. Building materials, such as doors, were reused or recycled to reduce the waste sent to the landfill.

Several energy-saving projects have also been completed in Brooksville, resulting in a $3,600 rebate check from Progress Energy. The projects included replacing some of the old, inefficient HVAC systems with new, energy-efficient systems; replacing the Building 6 roof with a cool roof; installing variable speed drives on HVAC motors; and retrofitting inefficient lighting systems.

To help reduce energy consumption, an energy management system (EMS) was implemented to operate the District’s buildings as efficiently as possible. The EMS controls all HVAC systems and their operating times so the units do not operate when the buildings are unoccupied. In addition, the system helps to reduce peak demand by scheduling the units to start at different intervals to avoid starting all the units at once. The EMS also turns off overhead lighting when rooms are unoccupied. In the past, the District was only able to track energy by each campus. Now the District will be able to track energy by building and set a benchmark for each to use for future energy-saving projects.

Savings Through Technology 

The District uses several different types of technology, such as teleconferencing and streaming video, to reduce fuel costs, paper use and more.

The District also has implemented virtualization technology that allows a single physical computer to host several standalone virtual computers. Through this technology, there are currently 27 virtual host servers that support more than 447 computers, reducing hardware expenditures, maintenance costs and power consumption. The estimated energy cost savings for the District is $514,844 annually.

In addition, the District uses a web-based tool to hold meetings both within the District and collaboratively with outside parties, reducing or eliminating the need for travel or printing. By using this tool, in less than a year there has been a savings of $4,550 in estimated mileage costs and $55,000 in estimated consultant fees for travel time.

For more information on these or other District efforts to incorporate superior environmental stewardship into its daily operations, please contact Gene Schiller at 1-800-423-1476 (FL only), ext. 4605.