Energy & Climate
Emissions from energy generation and management have an impact on our environment. The burning of fossil fuels releases stored greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which creates a warming effect on the air and increases air pollution. Becoming more energy efficient and investing in renewable energy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance our resiliency, and save on energy costs.
In Florida, renewable energy generation comes from biomass and solar, with hydroelectric providing a small percentage in the panhandle. Only 3% of energy produced in the state currently comes from renewable energy sources. Electric companies, such as TECO and Duke Energy, are beginning to invest more in solar farms in Florida to help decrease our reliance on fossil fuels.
Solar energy is harnessing energy from the sun for our needs. The most common residential solar technologies used are photovoltaic (PV) panels, passive solar design, and solar water heating. PV panels convert sunlight directly into usable electricity. Passive solar design is used more for heating and cooling. It is designing a building to harness the sun's heat to warm our homes. Similarly, solar water heaters also harness the sun's heat to warm the water for our houses or businesses.
Biomass energy production is typically done at a commercial level. The most common use of biomass for energy production in our area is the Pinellas County Waste-to-Energy Plant in St. Petersburg. At his plant residential and commercial trash is burned to produce energy that is used onsite and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The plant powers around 40,000 homes and businesses everyday.
To learn more about renewable energy:
There are many ways to make your home or business more energy efficient. Some are quick, easy fixes and other require a bit more time and investment.
One of the easiest ways to reduce energy usage is to replace standard light bulbs with energy efficient LED lights. LED lights use 10% of the energy that a standard bulb uses. Additionally, they last 10-15 times longer than a standard bulb. Both of these combined will not only save energy, but will save move as well.
Appliances & Electronics
When replacing appliances and electronics, look for the Energy Star rating to ensure you are getting a product that will be energy efficient. Often old appliances and electronics drain energy that you may not be aware of. As an added benefit, appliances that use water, like washing machines and dishwashers, that are Energy Star certified also use less water. This has a combined benefit of energy and water efficiency.
Sealing & Insulating
One major energy drain, especially in hot climates where air conditioners are used, is improperly sealed windows and doors. Cracks around windows and doors allow cold air to escape and hot air to come into your house or business. It is often as easy as caulking the cracks to seal them properly.
To learn more about energy efficiency:
The City is investing in clean, renewable resources for City equipment and facilities. You can view the performance of the City's first solar power system located at the Environmental Education Center.
The City is becoming more energy efficient in the design, construction, and operation of City facilities. Recent initiatives include:
- Oldsmar's Historic Oldsmar Bank and Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant were both designed and built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Both facilities were awarded LEED Silver Certification by the United States Green Building Council.
- Upgrading interior and exterior lighting systems to LEDs (light-emitting diode) at City Hall and Oldsmar Fire Rescue Station.