Last night the Buncombe County Commissioners received a report on the county’s efforts to become more energy-efficient. General Services Director Greg Israel said he was able to offset the annual 11% increase in energy costs through implementing green building measures.

Reportedly, Israel has saved the county millions of dollars each year. Replacing roofing with more reflective materials is cutting HVAC costs for large buildings by about 30%. Switching to compact fluorescent lighting in the courthouse alone is saving the county $2400/month. Running premium-rated motors and ceramic bearing pumps can cut another 10-15% off energy costs.

Israel said he tries very hard not to be seduced by the sales pitches for new, high-risk green technologies that bombard him. He has found that one of the best ways to keep energy costs down is to keep filters clean and motors properly-greased. Computer-automated HVAC technology has now advanced to a level of sophistication to make it worthwhile in buildings like the courthouse.

The county also runs a fleet of hybrid vehicles, and uses propane to fuel heavy machinery. By trying to recycle as much as possible, Israel’s department does not have to use taxpayer money to pay to take government garbage to the landfill. Overall, it is nice to see government being conscientious in at least one area.