Whatcom County's First Steps
Whatcom County’s first steps into the realm of green building were taken in 2001 at the County Courthouse. They began with the removal of nearly half of the light bulbs in the Courthouse. While this may have seemed overzealous, research had shown buildings were substantially over-lit compared to the actual needs of the occupants.
This was soon followed by reducing heating temperatures and employee monitoring of energy consumption in the use of lighting, computers, and personal appliances. These operational processes alone brought tremendous energy savings.
At the same
time the county then began to further its conservation efforts in its
other buildings by upgrading existing equipment. This included
installation of variable-speed fans for the HVAC system, lighting
upgrades, and a full re-commissioning of the County Courthouse and Jail.
In some of the smaller facilities, high-efficiency furnaces, and
on-demand hot-water heaters were also installed for energy conservation.
In total, these measures saved the county over $87,000 on utility bills
in 2005 compared to 2000.