Stewards of the Environment and Taxpayer Dollars
Monitoring the use of electricity, natural gas, propane and water is an important part of being good stewards of the environment and taxpayer dollars. This report provides an annual overview of both cost and consumption in county government facilities (not including Chesterfield County Public Schools) as well as an overview of programs and efforts related to energy efficiency and management.
Through several departments, county government maintains approximately 400 facilities for various purposes, totaling over 2 million square feet. These facilities utilize nearly 720 utility accounts for electricity, natural gas, propane, wastewater and water. Many facilities have 24/7/365 uses such as the jail, Juvenile Detention Home, fire stations and Utilities’ pump stations.
In fiscal year 2022 (FY22), the county government spent close to $4.8 million dollars on utilities, which is a 4.5% increase from fiscal year 2021 (FY21). A categorical breakdown of costs by commodity is as follows:
|Commodity||FY20||FY21||FY22||FY21-FY22 Percent Change|
|Water and Sewer||$424,623||$387,750||$418,886||8.0%|
An increase in commodity use was also seen in FY22 compared to FY21 except for natural gas which saw 7.2% decrease in use.
|Commodity||FY20||FY21||FY22||FY21-FY22 Percent Change|
|Natural Gas (MCF)||45,943||54,456||50,516||-7.2%|
|Water and Sewer (Mgal)||62,817||48,237||50,410||4.5%|
FY22 Success Stories and Savings
Addison-Evans Water Treatment Plant - $301,000 Savings
$301,000 savings from contract and rate change. Review of load letter and Dominion contract allowed for a downsized transformer for construction project of the new building for the electrical gear. Additionally, rate change with requested back billing produced additional significant savings.
Matoaca and Thomas Dale High School - $69,838 Savings
$69,838 savings from right sizing of oversized transformers to eliminate facility charges and lower contracted demand. Retroactive rebill for unnecessary delays was requested and granted resulting in a significant credit.
Bailey Bridge Middle School - $8,000 Savings
$8,000 savings for detection and reversal of demand spike due to electrical storm. Decreased contracted demand and recovered back billing.
Matoaca Middle School - $6,100 Savings
$6,100 savings for detection and recovery of double billing error.
Bon Air Library - $5,700 Savings
$5,700 savings due to rate change on electric account.
C’field unplugged is a countywide behavioral-based energy awareness program, initiated in January 2018, to educate and encourage county employees to be good stewards of the environment while being conscious of how we spend tax dollars. Information about C’field Unplugged was available on Earth Day and employees received various energy saving tips during the year.
Demand Response, also known as load response, is a consumer’s voluntary reduction of their demand for electricity in response to a usage reduction request from the utility, in exchange for a monetary rebate. Demand Response programs help Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) decrease demand during extreme weather when demand on the grid is high. The Community Development Building, Public Safety Training Center, and the Lane B. Ramsey County Administration Building were part of this program in FY22. Rebates of $6,700 were received.
In addition to demand response, the PJM (Pennsylvania, Jersey, Maryland) grid operator offers an Energy Efficiency program in which participants can receive rebates for installing energy efficient equipment or implementing more efficient processes/systems that exceed then-current codes, standards, or demand. To qualify, an improvement must achieve a permanent reduction in demand for electricity. Common measures that may permanently reduce electric demand are lighting conversions to more efficient lamps or replacing heating and cooling systems with a more efficient system. Rebates are earned for four consecutive years after the project is submitted and approved. In FY2022, project rebates totaled $4,900.
Equipment Check Out – Chesterfield County Public Library
Energy Management partnered with Chesterfield County Public Library (CCPL) to initiate an energy monitoring and auditing equipment check out program for county residents. CCPL was given “Power Monitoring for Dummies” and “Watts Up” meters for residents to check out at branches throughout the county. The equipment can help homeowners determine the wattage of common household appliances and bring awareness to how much the items are contributing to their monthly electric bill.
As further demonstration of upholding Chesterfield County’s Strategic Goals of being a Model for Excellence in Government and promoting environmental stewardship, the county utilizes best practices in sustainable building financing, planning, design, construction, management, renovation, maintenance and decommissioning of its facilities. With the passing of HB2001 in the 2021 Virginia General Assembly, beginning July 1, 2021, new construction projects over 5,000 square feet and major renovations must be compliant with the new High Performance Building Code 15.2-1804 requiring all Virginia localities to incorporate high performance building standards.
Facility setpoints are continually being monitored for consistency and to comply with recommended guidelines. With increasing capacity as employees transitioned back into the office, set points were reevaluated and set accordingly. Efforts were focused on facilities with programable thermostats as well as those on the Siemens Building Automated System. Measures were taken to adjust set points, but still with consideration of CDC recommendations for maintaining proper airflow in buildings to help prevent virus spread.
General Services Fleet Services Division – Vehicle Alternative Fuels Program
Eighty-eight Chesterfield County fleet vehicles consumed 188,064 gallons of liquid propane (LP) in FY22, accounting for 8.6% of the fleet’s total fuel consumption. The average purchase price of LP during the same time period was $1.90/gallon, which is approximately 29% less than unleaded and 37% less than diesel.
LED Light Conversions
As part of renovation efforts, all the lights at the Airport Main Terminal were retrofit to LED. Additionally, the Building & Grounds Warehouse and the Fire Logistics Warehouse also received retrofits.
Annually, electric accounts are reviewed to make sure they are on the most advantageous rate schedule. This is especially important for the county’s larger facilities that have more to gain from a proper rate schedule. As a member of the Virginia Energy Purchasing Governmental Association (VEPGA), the county has 14 different rates available from which to choose. In FY22, estimated savings totaled $306,700.
Solar Power Purchase Agreements
The county and school system moved forward with solar power purchase agreements (PPA) for seven facilities which had leases signed in July 2021. The solar vendor was able to maintain the original price agreement, despite significant changes in the market. The vendor began installing the systems in the fall of 2022. A PPA is a method of acquiring renewable energy via solar with no upfront or ongoing costs. The vendor leases roof space from the client and owns, installs, and maintains the solar panels. The power generated is then sold back to the customer at a predetermined reduced price. View the county’s environmental stewardship programs for more information.
Utility Bill Audits
Various audit measures are used during and after data imports to identify potential equipment malfunction, overbilling, missed billings, overlapping billings and estimated billings. New accounts are reviewed for proper rate schedule and tax-exempt status. Import audit features have detected otherwise unnoticed issues such as leaks and malfunctioning equipment. In FY22, estimated savings totaled $84,000.
Upcoming Initiatives (FY23)
Beacon Water Alert System
With the transition of county facility water meters to electronic meters, the Eye on Water software can send leak alerts via email within 24 hours of detection. The transition and setup to receive alerts began in FY22. There is a tremendous value in the early identification of the leaks, instead of noticing increased usage on the bill. Therefore, the repair efforts of leaks are less impactful. In FY23, work has begun to create alert accounts for large departments to gain the ability to set personalized alerts for each meter. Employees in these departments are being trained on the system and how to respond to and evaluate the validity of alerts.
Exterior Lighting Enhancements Project
A major outdoor lighting enhancement project for county facilities is underway to achieve energy savings, ease ongoing maintenance burdens and improve security around county buildings and parking lots. Scope refinement and cost estimates were completed in fall of 2022, with work beginning in a phased approach starting 2023.
Solar Power Purchase Agreement
Despite significant changes and challenges in the solar market, the county was able to move forward with array installations for seven county and school facilitates in the fall of 2022 with expected completion in the spring of 2023. Also, four additional facilities have been confirmed with work starting on three of these facilities in FY23.
Solar Power Sites in Chesterfield
Chesterfield County Government and Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) have partnered with Sun Tribe Solar to bring solar power to Chesterfield facilities via a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). In addition to clean, renewable energy, the county and CCPS will achieve ongoing cost savings, primarily through securing long-term electric rate stability. PPAs require no capital investment and Sun Tribe owns, operates and maintains the equipment.
Factors such as roof age, size and warranty as well as orientation are key considerations for selection. The county anticipates actual panel installation beginning in late fall of 2022 with arrays being operational starting in the spring of 2023. Moving forward, all new construction facilities and buildings receiving new roofs will be evaluated for viability. Panel electric production for each facility will be monitored electronically and Chesterfield looks forward to the valuable educational and learning possibilities this will provide for its students.Click on the column headers below to sort the table.
Proposed Array Size
Forecasted Year One
Total Carbon Offset
|Beulah Elementary School||244.8||330,480||6,654|
|Beulah Parks and Recreation (Renovation)||240.0||340,656||5,660|
|Enon Elementary School||209.6||282,960||5,601|
|Old Hundred Elementary School||293.6||396,360||7,663|
|Public Safety Training Center||264.8||357,480||6,805|
|Fleet (New Construction)||191.2||256,644||5,067|
|Harrowgate Elementary School||273.6||362,145||7,150|
|Matoaca Elementary School||165.6||254,647||4,371|
|Ettrick Elementary School||191.2||260,847||5,150|
|Midlothian Library (New Construction)||283.9||409,327||7,204|
|Moseley Elementary School||259.2||347,490||6,860|