Last week, we traveled to Florida where we met with three Better Buildings Challenge partners: the cities of West Palm Beach and Orlando, and commercial real estate developer Parkway Properties.
As Maria T. Vargas, director of the Better Buildings Challenge participated in tours of some of the fantastic showcase projects in the state, partners also had time to talk about the importance of energy efficiency with city leadership.
The first stop was the city of West Palm Beach, where she met with Mayor Jeri Muoio and Penni Redford, the city’s sustainability manager. West Palm Beach met their Challenge goal of 20 percent energy reduction, then one-upped themselves by announcing a new 15 percent energy reduction goal for 2025.
The West Palm Beach team led a tour of Evernia Garage, LED street light retrofits project and the East Regional Water Reclamation Facility. The facility’s new “Biosolids Improvement Project” is currently under construction, and promises a host of new cutting-edge green building technologies put to work.
“When cities lead the way with essential and innovative energy efficiency upgrade projects, they are demonstrating the leadership that we need to carry this nation’s buildings into the 21st century,” said Mayor Jeri Muoio.
Next up, DOE visited with partner City of Orlando, participating in a roundtable conversation about sustainability and the ciy's energy efficiency projects. Exciting developments include $17.5 million of energy efficiency upgrades at 56 municipal facilities, including lighting upgrades, heating and cooling renovations, building automation and controls.
"Through this work and our partnership in the Better Buildings Challenge, we are realizing significant energy bill savings, improved maintenance costs and more local jobs, all while using revolving cost savings to fund future projects,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
Next on the tour was One Orlando Centre, a newly renovated office tower owned and operated by commercial real estate partner Parkway Properties.
The 19-story, 355,000 square-foot office building underwent extensive renovations, resulting in a savings of nearly 18 percent in energy costs and over 1.7 million gallons of water. Thanks to these measures Parkway Properties has quickly seen over $75,000 in annual energy and water cost reductions.
“Taking on the extensive renovations at One Orlando Centre has not only resulted in high-quality improvements for our tenants in a top-tier market, it helps us meet our own aggressive sustainability targets,” said Bruce Hall, director of engineering for Parkway Properties.
For more on the visit to Florida’s Better Buildings Challenge, partners, read the Department of Energy press releases: