Looking Back on a Year of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

Energy Star LogoColumbia Association (CA) had a very busy first year as an ENERGY STAR Partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CA worked aggressively to implement energy efficiency upgrades in numerous facilities and also worked to communicate the benefits of ENERGY STAR programs to the community. Effective energy management is an important way to lower utility costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve overall sustainability.

CA is continually looking for opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of its operations through equipment upgrades and optimizing how existing equipment is used. Efforts undertaken by CA to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions include:

  • Replacing metal halide light fixtures with high-efficiency fluorescent fixtures in the arenas at Columbia Athletic Club, Columbia Gym and Supreme Sports Club — reducing energy consumption by 50 percent and decreasing annual operating costs by more than $25,000.

  • Installing more than 1,000 energy-efficient lamps at the fitness facilities, Columbia Swim Center and Owen Brown Tennis Bubble — reducing energy consumption for lighting by 22 to 50 percent.

  • Installing high-efficiency condensing boilers and on-demand water heaters at several pools and Stonehouse.

  • Conducting energy audits at Columbia Art Center, Stonehouse and several neighborhood centers.

  • Improving operating practices to ensure equipment is operated efficiently and that energy-consuming devices and equipment are turned off when not needed.

  • Designing new facilities, such as the Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club Clubhouse and the downtown mind-body wellness retreat, to be as energy-efficient as possible.

  • Installing a 20kW solar photovoltaic system at Amherst House that will generate 23,000 kilowatt-hours of clean energy every year — equal to the consumption of two average homes.

CA also worked closely with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) to promote various ENERGY STAR products and programs that are available to help Columbia residents and businesses be more sustainable. CA strongly encourages all members of our community to explore these resources and take what steps they can to reduce energy consumption, fight climate change and save money.

For more information on BGE’s incentive programs for residents and businesses, please go to BGESmartEnergy.com. For more information about ENERGY STAR, please go to EnergyStar.gov.

– Article by Jeremy Scharfenberg


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Filed under Columbia News, Green Initiatives

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