County wins energy conservation grant

Historic City News local reporters have been informed that St. Johns County has secured a statewide competitive energy conservation grant that will provide $437,902 for two projects.

St. Johns County is proud to be one of only fourteen applicants in the state to receive this funding, which is a result of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The first portion of the grant will be used to re-synchronize traffic signals to improve traffic flow along five major road segments, including two segments on U.S. 1 South and one each on State Roads 13, 207, and A1A South.

There are 23 total traffic signals planned to be synchronized, resulting in lower fuel consumption in vehicles, reduced greenhouse gas emissions through shorter travel times, increased travel speed, less stops and less delays for travelers on these roads. The estimated annual impact is anticipated to be 728,894 gallons of gasoline saved and a reduction of 6,768 metric tons of carbon.

The second portion of the grant funds will be used by the County Building Department to develop a proactive energy program, which will include technical assistance and training workshops on energy efficient building techniques. A total of 90 workshops are planned over a two-year period that will reach out to a diverse industry base, anticipating over 1,600 attendees.

The technical assistance component will facilitate availability of County staff to address specific questions from building applicants to provide the most appropriate information on energy savings.

Based on the State Energy Program Calculator, St. Johns County anticipates the average annual savings of these combined programs to be more than $3 million in reduced fuel usage and energy savings.

The grant application was a group process including the Engineering and Building Departments, as well as the Environmental Division. The scoring for the grant included: an overall energy efficiency strategy, the development of a well thought out project plan, a defined experienced project team, identification of matching/leveraging funds (which are “in kind” – by providing hours of existing staff time), identification of job creation or retention, calculating the energy savings and renewable energy production, and identifying the greenhouse gas reduction.

The Florida Energy and Climate Commission (FECC) within the Executive Office of the Governor will administer the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Photo credits: © 2010 Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire

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