The city has received numerous awards and recognition for its long-standing commitment to energy conservation, energy efficiency and environmental preservation. Phoenix's unique and long standing Energy Conservation Savings Reinvestment Fund has allowed the Phoenix Energy Office to be on the cutting edge of energy conservation. Through education and community outreach, the city actively participated in national campaigns and grassroot efforts, such as 'ENERGY STAR Change a Light, Change the World", to promote and raise awareness of the benefits of energy efficient lighting choices. Following a city policy that encourages construction of 2006 bond-funded city buildings using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, the city has seen a steady increase in the number of city-owned green buildings as well as the number of LEED accredited professionals among city staff. Partnerships with local utilities prove to be beneficial as the number of joint and independent solar photovoltaic (PV) projects continue to be developed, including a 100 kilowatt solar system at the new Convention Center.
In June 2005, the city council adopted a policy that, at a minimum, all new city buildings built with the 2006 Bond Funds be constructed to the basic LEED standard. Bond funds approved by voters in 2006 include a 2 percent cost to cover any basic LEED-related design and construction costs. For the past ten years, the city has co-sponsored an annual Green Building Expo with the Cities of Scottsdale and Tempe. By June 2008, eleven city staff had tested to become LEED accredited professionals. The nine city buildings listed below are either LEED Registered or LEED Certified:
- Fire Station #50 - LEED "Certified" in 2004.
- Desert Broom Library - LEED "Certified" in 2006.
- Cesar Chavez Library - operational and certification in process.
- Glenrosa Service Center Bldg. - operational and certification in process.
- Burton Barr Central Library - certification in process for EB (existing Building).
- Phoenix Convention Center/West Bldg - LEED "Silver" in May 2008.
- ASU Cronkite School of Journalism/KAET 8 - construction complete June 2008, certification in process.
- Rio Salado Audubon Center - in design, construction begins summer 2008.
- ASU College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation - in design.
- Design Standards for City Buildings - The city Building Standards were revised in 2006 to include additional energy related standards for city projects. The revisions supplement the LEED standards for green buildings which, by design, use less water and energy, generate less waste products, provide a more comfortable environment for their occupants, and contribute to a more sustainable environment. Due to Phoenix's climatic conditions, the city has established minimum standards more stringent than the LEED minimum standards, requiring:
- Landscape and exterior designs that reduce urban heat islands.
- Diversion of a minimum of 50 percent of construction waste from landfill disposal.
- A LEED accredited professional on the design team.
- When compared to the Energy Policy Act of 1992, buildings should use:
- 50 percent less water in landscaping
- 20 percent less water in interiors
- 30 percent less overall energy
Phoenix Energy Conservation Program
The city has received numerous energy efficiency awards and is working with Arizona State University and the utility companies on sustainability issues and solar photovoltaic pilot projects. The city of Phoenix's Energy Conservation Program has saved over $75 million since the late 1970s. Program highlights include:
- Energy Efficiency Retrofits for Air Conditioning and Lighting - The Energy Conservation Savings Reinvestment Fund (Pay-as-you-go), which was first approved by city council in 1983, has provided the funding for Energy Management staff to work with city departments on a wide variety of retrofit projects. Most of these projects involve High Volume Air Conditioning (HVAC) and lighting, which comprise the most energy consumption and expense in city facilities. Projects include replacement of HVAC units with high efficiency units, variable speed drives on air and water distribution systems, energy management systems and controls, and light system retrofits from standard T-12 lamps and magnetic ballasts to T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts.
- Energy Conservation Outreach - The Public Works Department promotes energy conservation through presentations at various events including annual Engineering and Facility Management shows, Energy Association meetings, technical groups, city council subcommittees, and the Environmental Quality Commission. Energy conservation information is provided to city staff in appropriate venues.
- Energy Star Program - Energy Star rated equipment is in the top ten percent of the most efficient equipment available. The Energy Management Task Force initiated an Energy Star purchasing pilot program for city departments. The pilot program evolved into a permanent program where city buyers work with departments to make Energy Star rating a requirement for city procurement. Affected equipment includes computers, monitors, printers, copiers, and other general appliances required in city operations.
Energy Conservation: Other Departments
- Street Transportation Department - Streets is implementing an energy conservation program to convert incandescent traffic signal bulbs to light emitting diode (LED) devices. These devices reduce energy use by 90 percent. While a new U.S. Department of Energy rule requires this conversion for all colors (red, yellow and green) on new signaled intersections, Phoenix started their program well before the federal program, and began replacing traffic signal bulbs in 2000. As of the end of 2007, more than 9,000 LED devices have been installed, and traffic signal indications at about 80 percent of all signalized intersections will operate completely or partially with LED light sources.
- Aviation Department - The Aviation Department will use the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standards in a pilot study for several future construction projects at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to reduce operating costs and energy use, lower utility bills, and minimize environmental impacts. The Aviation Department currently uses computerized energy management systems that assist in the optimal running of temperature control systems. Environmentally preferable construction techniques, high performance building materials, high efficiency cooling towers, fan wells, and variable frequency drives are also utilized.
- Fire Department - The Phoenix Fire Department is committed to building green fire stations and thus far, has built nine green facilities. Fire stations are designed to last at least 50 years, and for the buildings to return the additional green building investment costs via energy savings within the half lifecycles (25 years) of the buildings. Energy audits of the existing green fire stations have found an energy savings of between 30 percent and 50 percent. Green materials include recyclable metals in the roofing, recycled rubber tires for athletic floor coverings, insulation materials that include post-consumer recyclable styrene, formaldehyde free insulation bats, and recycled acoustic tiles. Planned green fire stations will incorporate an improved roof structure that will give an insulation value of R-54, equaling the insulated concrete form exterior walls.
- Parks and Recreation Department Pools - Three high-efficiency motor/pump combinations purchased for city pools have a variable speed drive system to maximize energy savings. The purchase of solar pool covers for six heated pools will result in an estimated 20 to 30 percent savings in pool heating costs as well as reduced chemical and water use.
- Parks and Recreation and Golf Courses - All golf courses and parks with large pump stations have small pumps which are activated when small amounts of water are needed, saving the energy required to operate a larger pump. Installation of Variable Frequency Drives on irrigation pump stations and booster pumps alters the frequency and spins the motor more slowly, thus reducing energy demand. In addition, an automated remote control lighting system is used at various parks to provide automated and remote control of lighting systems.
- Water Treatment Plant Optimization - Through an energy optimization program, the city's Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants and associated facilities run as energy efficiently as possible, reducing peak energy demands and overall energy usage. Energy efficiency is incorporated into all new construction and upgrades at Water Services Department facilities.
In 2007, city council adopted the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code, which established minimum energy conservation standards for development. This Code regulates general development in the city of Phoenix, and represents a major step in providing guidance on minimum energy standards to owners and developers. Energy reductions, from 10 to 40 percent, may be achieved in buildings built to this new code.
Renewable Energy Goal
In 2008, City Council approved a goal that by 2025, 15% of the energy used by the city should come from renewable energy sources. To the greatest extent feasible, the city will achieve goal through city-owned and city-sponsored projects, primarily through public and private partnerships. The goal includes periodic reviews by the city council and includes milestones to track progress. The citizen-based Environmental Quality Commission and Public Works Department collaborated to develop the recommendation for an aggressive and challenging renewable energy goal to help guide the city in future energy decisions.
Solar, or photovoltaic (PV) power is created by transforming solar energy collected by modules into electricity. Examples of the city's PV projects include the facilities listed below.
- 40th Street - Pecos Park & Ride Facility (100 kW) - Through a partnership between the city of Phoenix and the Salt River Project, this facility provides solar generated electricity to the Ahwatukee community and parking spaces for transit passengers. The PV modules are located on top of two parking shade canopies and the security building. PV equipment enclosure transforms solar energy for use in the public grid, generating enough energy to 13 to 15 Valley homes on an annual basis and collecting solar energy data for future alternative energy projects. This program received the "Crescordia" award from the Valley Forward Association (Environmental Excellence Awards - 2003).
- North Mountain Visitors Center (3.15 kW) - This center, operated by the Parks and Recreation Department, was built with minimum impact to the site on previously disturbed land. Shading devices (24 feet deep) block sunlight from windows to increase energy savings. Exterior walls are Integra insulated concrete block, which is a type of concrete block system that involves laying a block wall and filling the core with foam. All of the trees on site were salvaged and replanted throughout the area. A 3,150-Watt PV system, which includes eighteen 175 watt solar panels, is being installed to provide power to the facility during the day, offsetting power from the utility grid, and demonstrating solar and renewable technologies in a natural educational setting. An information screen is installed inside the building for educational purposes and to monitor the systems performance.
- Camp Colley (8.45 kW) - Camp Colley, which is located 50 miles north of Payson, in the mountains of Central Arizona, is a city-owned and operated outdoor wilderness camp. Electricity at Camp Colley is primarily supplied through a PV system which converts solar rays into energy. Camp Colley also utilizes a subsurface wastewater treatment system that filters out solids into septic tanks, then treats effluent water by passing it through wetland plants, which utilizes the waste and allows recharge of cleaner water into an adjacent meadow. These sustainable systems are part of the educational component of the camp. Camp Colley also teaches participants about the environment by conducting conservation projects including the removal of non-native and invasive plants and animals.
- Pecos Community Center (30 kW) - This project, a partnership between the Salt River Project (SRP) and the city of Phoenix, has a 30 kW solar photovoltaic system installed on the roof of the gymnasium equivalent to powering four area homes on an annual basis. It is designed to feed power to the facility and offset utility purchased power on site. A data acquisition system will make system information available via the Internet and a monitor in the lobby of the facility will display power generation information and other environmental facts.
- Phoenix Convention Center (100 kW) - The West Building of the Phoenix Convention Center (PCC) will incorporate 100 kW of solar power on its roof. This system, which is equivalent to powering 13-15 homes on an annual basis, will provide power directly into the facility and is designed to offset power typically purchased from the utility.
- North Gateway Transfer Station (7 kW) - This city developed a 7 kW photovoltaic system on the roof of the transfer station, which will offset power requirements during the day and 32 photovoltaic powered lights in the employee and visitor parking lot of the facility, avoiding approximately 4 kW of conventional lighting load. In total, these two systems are equivalent to powering eight area homes. The roof mounted photovoltaic system will provide power directly to the facility and is designed to offset onsite power requirements.
Landfill Gas-to-Energy (LFGTE)
Gas generated from landfills is a viable renewable energy source. Benefits include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the ability to defray methane gas control expenses. Potential sites for LFGTE projects described below include the 27th Avenue Landfill, Skunk Creek Landfill and the State Route 85 Landfill.
- 27th Avenue Landfill - At the 27th Avenue landfill, staff continues to work on a gas-to-energy project with Cambrian Energy, which owns the rights to the landfill gas per a previous agreement with the city. Tentative plans are for construction of a LFGTE plant at 27th Avenue to begin in 2008. Initial conceptual discussions have begun concerning the inclusion of bio gas produced at the 23rd Avenue Waste Water Treatment Plant in this renewable energy project.
- Skunk Creek Landfill - At the recently closed Skunk Creek landfill, Public Works staff is close to finalizing a contract with AMERESCO to develop a LFGTE project. As of December 2007, the project is anticipated to be permitted and construction complete by mid-2009. Approximately 3 megawatts of power will be produced, which is equivalent to powering 2,100 homes.
- State Route 85 Landfill - Installation of the 1st phase of a landfill gas collection system was completed in 2007. The landfill gas being collected is of sufficient quantity and quality to support a future energy project. Although specifics are not known at this time, Public Works anticipates preparing a request for proposal (RFP) to solicit a developer to utilize the landfill gas as a renewable fuel source.
City/Downtown District Cooling System
Built in 1993, the innovative district cooling and thermal storage system supports over 1.2 million square feet in the downtown area. A Thermal Energy Storage Tank underneath the Adams Parking Garage provides chilled water (40°F) during on-peak hours through underground pipes to the buildings to meet all air conditioning loads. Water is returned to the tank from the buildings at 60°F. During the off-peak periods, the Central Plant Chillers in the City Hall basement operate to meet all air conditioning loads and "recharge" the Thermal Energy Storage Tank with 40°F chilled water to use during the next on-peak period. It is estimated that annual energy savings from district cooling exceeds $200,000 per year. The eight buildings supported by the district cooling system include: Phoenix City Hall, Orpheum Theater, Personnel Building, Calvin Goode Municipal Building, Walker Building, Municipal Courthouse, Historic City Hall, and the 305 Garage.
Northwind District Cooling System
Five city-owned facilities are connected to the privately owned Northwind district cooling system, which uses an industrial grade, ice-based chiller system that manufactures 3 million pounds of ice each night when utility loads and rates are lowest. During peak periods, the ice is melted and 34°F water is distributed through an extensive network of underground pipes to provide state-of-the-art cooling to buildings throughout downtown Phoenix. The ice storage system reduces energy costs by producing air conditioning in advance. By making ice at night when electricity is less expensive, Northwind Phoenix can store low-cost cooling for use during the hottest part of the day when costs and use are highest. The buildings in this system include: TGen/CC Headquarters, ASU Downtown University Center, Phoenix Convention Center, Herberger Theater, and Symphony Hall.
Energy Efficient Housing
The following programs demonstrate the city's commitment to energy efficient housing:
- Affordable Housing - The Housing Department Development Section encourages energy efficient improvements in its affordable housing proposals. As part of evaluation scoring criteria, additional points are given for energy efficiency improvements, such as HVAC with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating greater than 10; "Energy Star" rated appliances, and landscape designs utilizing xeriscape principles to conserve water usage.
- Housing Modernization - For more than ten years, the Housing Department has been involved in improving the energy efficiency and sustainability of its rental apartments that provide housing to lower income residents. Housing has invested over $25 million in modernization projects that have always incorporated improvements with regard to efficiency, accessibility, affordability, livability and sustainability. Some projects and improvements include:
- Installation of low-flow water valves and fixtures in all apartments.
- Coating flat roofs with energy saving reflective ceramic polymer material.
- Replacement of interior incandescent lighting with lower energy use fluorescent lights.
- Replacement of exterior incandescent lights with lower energy use high pressure sodium light fixtures.
- Purchasing only Energy Star appliances.
- Installation of xeriscape landscaping and irrigation systems.
- Use of passive building cooling techniques including shade trees.
- Use of gas appliances with electronic ignitions (instead of pilot lights).
- Replacement of evaporative coolers with high SEER-rated HVAC systems.
- Installation of master chiller systems.
- Use of environmentally safe cleaning solutions.
- Remodeling bathrooms to include low water use fixtures, solid tub surrounds, additional grab bars and improved ventilation to reduce mold growth and improve accessibility.
- Using Green Seal paint products with low volatile organic compounds.
- Using aqueous based solvents and products that contain recycled materials.
- Installing artificial turf in landscaping designs.
- Eliminating or encapsulating environmentally sensitive building material such as lead and asbestos.
- Developing a 69 unit mixed finance apartment building for seniors with a Silver LEED certification.
- Neighborhood Services Department (NSD) Weatherization Program - NSD provides one-time grants of up to $8,000 to qualifying homeowners to help reduce energy use. The program is funded by a range of sources including Southwest Gas, Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project (SRP), U.S. Department of Energy - Low Income Energy Program, and the Human Services Department Utility Repair Replacement and Deposit Program (URRD). Examples of energy projects include replacement or repair of heating and cooling units, insulation addition, duct sealing, weather-stripping and caulking. Based on grant funding, the city plans to assist approximately 100 homes per year. Energy use measurements are obtained before and after the improvements to ensure the effectiveness of the program.
- Energy Efficient Home Construction - The Neighborhood Services Department (NSD) utilizes house plans for new construction that provide energy savings to the low-income homeowners through energy demand reduction. The investment in energy reduction measures costs approximately $3,500 per house, with a projected monthly decrease in energy costs of $35. This amounts to a return on investment at 8.3 years, compared with the industry standard of 20 years or less. The homes incorporate improved building design and utilize passive energy practices, resulting in energy-efficient homes that exceed the Energy Star standards. NSD was honored by the National Association of Home Builders, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy with their 2004 Silver Award for Energy Value Housing as a leader in energy efficient home building and environmentally conscious building practices.
- HOPE VI Project - The Matthew Henson HOPE VI Project provides affordable and energy efficient housing for public housing residents. The HOPE VI Project demolished 356 old and obsolete public housing units (while preserving 16 historical units) and is constructing 611 state-of-the-art, energy efficient housing units. Green building concepts have been incorporated including:
- Energy Star appliances in all housing units, providing energy cost savings to public housing residents.
- Upgraded paint systems that resist fading and heat absorption are applied to all new units. Low-E glass is also being used in all multi-family units, which reduces heat transfer from the sun while still allowing non-harmful light in. High quality caulking is used on all windows, door frames and structural framing.
- Desert landscaping and low water use plants have been installed throughout the project and buildings have been positioned to maximize shade in the summer months and sun in the winter months. Rain water is guided to water catchment basins to be recycled back into the underground water shelf.
- Two waterless urinals were installed in management and youth buildings, saving over 40,000 gallons of water per year. Efficient hot water delivery systems, self-closing faucets, and low flow fixtures also conserve water.
- M-Energy Efficient Home Construction - The HOPE VI Project was one of ten selected in September 2006 to be featured in the ASU/Stardust Foundation, Arizona Excellence in Affordable Housing Exhibition because of its unique "Green Building" concept and environmentally friendly design.
Rental Rehabilitation Program
The Neighborhood Services Department provides financial assistance to property owners of multi-family housing units. The program's objective is to stabilize and physically improve the affordable housing stock to promote a healthy, safe living environment for the residents and the neighborhood. Improvements may include new electrical and plumbing systems, heating and cooling units, and appliances that meet or exceed Energy Star rating.