Montgomery County Partners with U.S. Department of Energy to Increase Energy Efficiency and Ensure Public Safety in Storms

Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — Montgomery County reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to public safety and clean energy technologies by joining the U.S. Department of Energy in a program designed to enable the County to provide uninterrupted public safety services during major storms and power outages while saving energy and money. As a partner in the Combined Heat and Power for Resiliency Accelerator, the County is an early leader among local governments nationwide in the use of environmentally friendly technologies.

“Montgomery County is pleased to be part of this national partnership, which reinforces our leadership in clean energy innovation,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett. “Generating power and heat in County facilities, with renewable energy, improves community resilience while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring the highest quality public safety services even in major storms and natural disasters.”
The County’s Department of General Services (DGS) is installing combined heat and power, solar, and energy efficiency technologies in its facilities. “Combined heat and power – which saves energy by using waste heat from on-site power generation to heat buildings – is part of a growing suite of clean technology that DGS is installing in its facilities,” said DGS Director David Dise. “Ultimately, DGS will be able to use this and other technology to provide uninterrupted public services during power outages while also significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions of County facilities.”

DGS is exploring, with other national leaders, incorporating “microgrids” into government facilities. Microgrids incorporate technologies such as microturbines, solar, and advanced building controls to allow facilities to operate independently from the utility grid during power outages while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy as part of this accelerator will help the County engage with experts across the country to plan buildings that can run independently from the utility grid. In addition to benefiting County operations, this partnership will help promote these technologies to other local governments and the private sector,” said DGS Office of Energy and Sustainability Chief Eric Coffman.

The County’s Department of General Services is testing its first combined heat and power system, a microturbine, at the Pre-Release Center in Rockville. Microturbines are small jet engines that use natural gas efficiently to generate electricity and heat at the same time. While all power generators create heat, most allow the heat to escape into the atmosphere. The combined heat and power system captures that heat and uses it to provide heating for the building. The combined heat and power system is up to twice as efficient as the more traditional separate electrical and heating systems found in buildings. The combined heat and power system will serve as the main source of electricity and heat for the building, with the less efficient grid and boiler system serving as a back-up. The Pre-Release facility is a good test case because combined heat and power is best suited for facilities that can use all of the electricity and heat on-site as it is generated – usually facilities that have a constant electrical and hot water need, such as hospitals, police and fire operations, and correctional facilities. The combined heat and power system is expected to be fully operational by the end of May.

As a cornerstone of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Better Buildings Initiative, of which the Combined Heat and Power for Resiliency Accelerator is a component, aims to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings more energy efficient and resilient to a changing climate over the next decade. This means saving hundreds of billions of dollars on energy bills, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating thousands of jobs nationwide.

For more information on the County’s latest solar, combined heat and power, and other energy efficiency and resiliency projects, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dgs-oes.For more information on Better Buildings Accelerators, visit http://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/accelerators.

For more information about the County’s green initiatives, call Eric Coffman, 240-777-5595.
Media Contact: Ohene Gyapong 240-777-6507

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