LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY BOARD (EAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

November 8, 2011

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Ruben Blanco

 

Eric Sutherland

Kimberly Karish

 

Stacey Baumgarn, Facilities

Evelyn King

 

 

Jennifer Lee

 

Commissioner:

Brian McCluskey

 

Lew Gaiter

Kate Muldoon

 

 

Earlie Thomas

 

Staff :

 

 

Doug Ryan

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Citizen Comments:

Eric Sutherland addressed the Advisory Board about his concerns regarding the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) by cities.  He handed out a one page outline pertaining to a TIF for the Rocky Mountain Innosphere through the City of Fort Collins.  Mr. Sutherland explained that from his perspective the reduction of tax dollars from these projects results in a giveaway of public money that benefits the project but not the community.  The result is that important community needs go unfunded due to reduced tax revenue.  He stressed that elected officials need support to pursue more appropriate practices for public-private partnerships than traditional TIF practices. 

 

Discussion Items:

Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant update.   Stacey Baumgarn provided an update on the status of the EECBG funding that the County received from the Department of Energy starting in 2009.  He used a power point presentation to communicate the progress to date.  The grant identified 12 projects that fall into five general DOE defined activity categories shown below:

 

Activity area 1

¢  Develop and Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy

¢  Hire and Energy Conservation Specialist

Activity area 2

¢  Complete our first GHG inventory of Larimer County operations

Activity area 6

¢  Develop employee engagement programs

¢  Purchase energy management software

¢  Establish account and utilize ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager

¢  Server virtualization ($29,000)

¢  Write and implement first County Energy Policy and Energy Acton Plan

¢  Energy Performance Contract

¢  Serve on design team for first County owned LEED certified building

Activity area 8

¢  Adopt 2009 IECC and IRC building codes

Activity area 13

¢  Install first solar PV array on a County building

 

Mr. Baumgarn gave a brief overview of each of the projects, with more detailed information about the employee engagement programs and the greenhouse gas inventory for county operations. 

 

Two employee engagement programs were completed in 2011.  The first was through participation in the EPA’s National Building Competition called “Battle of the Buildings”.  This involved an employee challenge to reduce energy consumption in the Justice Center building.  Larimer County used a number of strategies which resulted in a high level of staff participation and a 9% reduction in total building energy use for a $15,000 savings in energy cost.  Larimer Count won the national competition in the category of court house buildings. 

 

The second project was the “Power it Down Energy Challenge” for the Court House Office Building.  The challenge was conducted as a pilot program to test the ability to monitor energy use and engage staff participation.  Each of the five floors in the building was a team.  Electricity for each floor was monitored for lighting and equipment (the power plugs) use.  Staff leaders volunteered to be Energy Aces in their work area.  The overall energy reduction achieved was 5% over the baseline, with the fifth floor taking the lead through their 16% lighting and 5% plug reductions. 

 

The greenhouse gas inventory is in the final draft stage.  Mr. Baumgarn collected the energy use data, and the County retained the Brendle Group for the data analyses.  The inventory was developed in accordance with the Local Government Operations Protocol by The Climate Registry.  The report provides an estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions from county government operations, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent, or CO2e, for the years 2005 and 2010. 

 

The Advisory Board members discussed the use of this data.  The general consensus was a belief that an organization such as the County can best use the data by stressing that reductions of future greenhouse gas emissions can result in increased energy efficiency and cost savings.  It can also be helpful to see the overall energy picture, as expressed in CO2e because it shows total energy use.  The breakdown by energy source is also important for identifying opportunities to reduce energy use and save money.  The largest categories of energy use identified in the report are purchased electricity, vehicles and equipment, and natural gas.  Members noted that presenting the data broadly to include emissions, energy use, and cost is a good way to communicate to people with different perspectives or motivations.  For example, staff members may be more motivated to practice conservation measures as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as opposed to reducing utility bills that they do not pay. 

 

Updates:  

Kimberly Karish noted that her husband works for Vestas, the company that builds wind turbines.  She asked if EAB members would be interested in a future tour of the facility.  Several members expressed interest.

 

Dr. Karish asked if members would like to hear a presentation on LEED Certification, and how the system works.  The answer was yes.  Stacey Baumgarn volunteered that he could help set up a related presentation regarding the LEED Certification project for the Alternative Sentencing Unit (ASU). There is also academic research planned to study the behavioral impact of the ASU that may be of interest.

 

Dr. Karish noted that she has worked with PRPA on their powerline transmission upgrade project in the Pineridge Open Space.  Her part of the project concerns the biological survey as it relates to rare plant species.  At this point it appears that the upgraded line can go in the existing corridor with minor shifts in the right-of-way to avoid plant conflicts.

 

Doug Ryan announced that he met with the County Commissioners regarding the final selection of Environmental Stewardship Awards.  The Commissioners concurred with the four recommendations of the EAB, and added one additional award for a total of five.  The presentation will be December 12 at 3:00 PM.

 

EAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.

 

Next Meeting Agenda:

2012 workplan, Issue index review, Election of officers

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:45 PM