Monitoring the use of electricity, natural gas, propane and water is an important part of being good stewards of the environment and taxpayer dollars. The fiscal year 2021 (FY21) energy management program 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 four hundred 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 FY21, the county government spent about $4.6 million dollars on utilities, which is a 2% decrease from fiscal year 2020 (FY20). The only increase was in natural gas, as there were several new gas accounts created in FY21 and several existing accounts with increased use. A categorical breakdown of costs by commodity is as follows:
|Commodity||FY19||FY20||FY21||FY20-FY21 Percent Change|
A decrease in commodity use was also seen in FY21 compared to FY20, except, again, for natural gas. A categorical breakdown of costs by commodity is as follows:
|Commodity||FY19||FY20||FY21||FY20-FY21 Percent Change|
|Natural Gas (MCF)||52,671||45,943||53,930||17.4%|
FY21 Success Stories
Bailey Bridge Middle School
$27,345 savings for billing recovery and decreased contracted demand. After discovery of a Dominion contract error regarding the transformer size, Dominion refunded 50 months of facility charges and issued a corrected agreement with a decreased contract demand.
County Administration Building Transformer Replacement
$4,700 in avoided costs for transformer rightsizing as part of a transformer replacement.
Happy Hill Water Station
$36,800 savings for decreased contract demand and billing recovery. Recovered contract dollar minimum charges which were incorrectly assessed by Dominion and implemented decreased demand after equipment failure and replacement that caused a demand spike.
Proctor’s Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
$266,000 savings for rate changes and avoided costs. Reconfiguration of the electrical feeds allowed for a more advantageous rate schedule to be used.
Cfield 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.
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, Eanes-Pitman Public Safety Training Center and Lane B. Ramsey Administration Building were part of this program in FY21. Rebates of $6,400 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 FY21, project rebates totaled $2,400.
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 the 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.
Facility setpoints are continually being monitored for consistency and to comply with recommended guidelines. Due to COVID-19, facilities continued to experience altered/reduced occupancy during FY21. Measures were taken to adjust set points in some situations during this time; however, major changes were not implemented based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for maintaining proper airflow in buildings to help prevent virus spread.
Harmonic Filter Pilot
In July 2019, harmonic filters were placed on the electric panels at Ettrick-Matoaca Library as a pilot project. These filters are intended to decrease electricity use by eliminating harmonic oscillation and increasing efficiency. To evaluate effectiveness of the filters, pre- and post-installation energy use was analyzed. Despite a few months of closure during the early months of the pandemic, energy use in both FY20 and FY21 did not decrease. Hence, it can be concluded that these devices will not produce a return on investment.
LED Streetlight Conversions
As part of the Streetlight Retrofit program, 27 Dominion Energy-owned lights in the county complex and an extended area including Central Library, portions of the Chesterfield County Airport, the courthouse complex and courthouse bus garage were converted to LED.
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.
Chesterfield County Government and Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) moved forward with a solar power purchase agreement (PPA) for multiple facilities following the completion of a proposal/feasibility study by Sun Tribe Solar. After several months of due diligence work by county and school staff, leases for all facilities were approved by the Board of Supervisors. 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.
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, especially for water, have detected otherwise unnoticed issues such as leaks and malfunctioning equipment.
VACo Go Green Program
The county recognizes, and actively participates in, the Virginia Association of Counties’ (VACo) Go Green program, which encourages implementation of environmental policies and practical actions that reduce emissions and save local governments money. The county had been recognized with a Go Green Award for eight consecutive years from FY11-19. In FY20, VACo Go Green was slated to be revamped and did not accept submissions. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the program was not reinitiated for FY21. Staff will continue to monitor availability of VACo Go Green.
Vehicle Alternative Fuels Program - General Services Fleet Services Division
Eighty-three Chesterfield County fleet vehicles consumed 113,789 gallons of liquid propane (LP) in FY21, accounting for 6.2% of the fleet’s total fuel consumption. The average purchase price of LP during the same time period was $1.37/gallon, which is approximately 13% less than unleaded and 15% less than diesel. In addition, two 77-passenger electric school buses were added to the fleet as part of a partnership with Dominion Energy and will be used beginning in the 2021-22 school year.
Upcoming Initiatives (FY22 and FY23)
Energy Database Upgrade
In FY22, EnergyCAP, the county’s energy management software, will be upgraded to include import of all Dominion Energy data by the vendor. This will allow for consistent and timely access to electric account data as well as improved auditing for the monthly cost and use.
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. A project steering committee has been formed and an electrical consultant has been engaged. The first phase of the project will focus on scope refinement and cost estimating.
With Board of Supervisors approval in July 2021 of the leases with Sun Tribe Solar, the county will proceed with having solar panels installed on county and school facilities. Tentatively, the first arrays could be installed in late spring 2022 and operational by summer 2022. Currently, the project is in a due diligence phase where the contractor is moving from preliminary planning to detailed data gathering for each building. This includes tasks such as zoning compliance, permitting, inspections for validation of roof condition and warranty, roof structural review and analysis, and coordination of utility power interconnection. This work allows them to advance to an optimized design and eventually a handoff to their engineers who will complete construction plans. For a project of this size, this work typically takes about six to nine months.
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.
Sixteen county and school facilities have been selected as viable candidates. Factors such as roof age and size as well as orientation are key considerations for selection. The county anticipates actual panel installation beginning in late spring 2022. 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|
|360 West Elementary School||259.2||347,490||6,860|
|Fleet (New Construction)||191.2||256,644||5,067|
|Harrowgate Elementary School||273.6||362,145||7,150|
|Manchester Middle School||230.4||314,444||6,208|
|Matoaca Elementary School||165.6||254,647||4,371|
|Matoaca Middle School (Addition)||112.8||151,165||2,984|
|Crestwood Elementary School||189.9||254,647||5,027|
|Ettrick Elementary School||191.2||260,847||5,150|
|Reams Elementary School||192.8||261,140||5,156|
|Midlothian Library (New Construction)||283.9||409,327||7,204|