Town Hall completes its ‘green’ energy initiative

Some of the new lighting panels are picturedbefore installation.

Some of the new lighting panels are pictured
before installation.

Cutler Bay’s Town Hall recently completed an elaborate retrofitting of lighting systems, replacing the old fixtures using incandescent light bulbs with high efficiency lighting in all offices, restrooms, stairwells and common areas to reduce energy consumption and save taxpayer dollars.

The “Town Hall Goes Green” project was funded by a grant from the Florida Energy and Climate Commission of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The grant provided $110,435 toward the project and the Town of Cutler Bay contributed a payment of $90,355. The total cost of the project was $200,790.

Rafael G. Casals, interim town manager, explained that the project was not something they would have been able to do back when they were renting the building.

“Once we owned the building instead of renting it, we applied for the grant and worked with our friends in the state, put it out for bids and selected a contractor,” Casals said. “The state gave us the money and we put up some matching funds and began changing the light bulbs in all six stories of the building.”

Incorporated in 2005, the town has been involved in a number of environmentally friendly projects and has worked to include “green” principles in its present and future practices. Building infrastructures and fuelbased modes of transportation are the two major sources of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, according to Casals. Cutler Bay was awarded the “Silver” Certification from the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) and designated a Florida Green City.

Not only were the older light fixtures replaced in all areas of the building, 124 motion activated light sensors were installed in offices, restrooms and common areas in the six-story building that turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms, further saving energy. The project also involved retrofitting a light post at the exterior entrance of Town Hall with a solar powered LED lamp, and an electric vehicle charging station for public use also was installed.

Casals said that a total of 930 2- by 4- foot light fixtures were retrofitted and 96 2- by 2-foot light fixtures were replaced. In other areas, 18 hi-hats and 38 staircase fixtures were installed.

“We’re expecting a savings on office lighting of approximately 65 percent,” Casals said. “We went from using fixtures that had four incandescent bulbs to ones with only two high energy bulbs that put out as much light. They last longer and are low maintenance.”

Mayor Edward P. MacDougall said that the time is right for such projects and that more people should take “green” issues seriously.

“Never before in history has the environmental call for action been so critical,” MacDougall said. “Towns and cities across America must step up to the call for action. I truly believe the solution starts at home.”

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