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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Flagler County is now officially declared "Green"

Flagler County has led the way for environmental stewardship for a number of years with its environmentally sensitive lands purchasing program, trails and thousands of acres of preserves, but now the county has the paperwork to prove its green status - a silver designation.

Flagler County hired A World of Green, LLC in May of last year to evaluate the County’s efforts to recycle and reduce costs and the county’s impact on the environment. The audit was reviewed by Florida Green Building Coalition and the County has been certified for a silver designation. Out of 67 counties in the state Flagler County is one of only 6 counties in the state to be certified.

Making some changes for the County to be more environmentally friendly is important,” County Administrator Craig Coffey, said. “But perhaps more important in the present economy is the money the county is saving by initiating green practices.”

How much money?

Surprisingly the savings are not insignificant. By softening the water in a chiller that provides air conditioning to the Justice Center and the Government Services Building the County is able reuse the water more often and save about three million gallons of water a year and $20,000 a year in city utility fees.

The chiller plant included in the complex saves on air conditioning costs by serving both buildings. In October of 2007 Flagler County received a $17,004 check from FP&L for an Energy Recovery Ventilator system that uses exhaust air from the buildings to cool or heat fresh air coming into the Government Services Building. The process lowers energy loss by as much as 70 percent.

The check was presented to the county because the system saves the county money and saves energy that would otherwise have to be provided by FP&L.

Rain on the roofs of the Flagler County Government Center becomes landscaping irrigation water saving the use of expensive potable water. Rain fall and drainage from the buildings and parking lots is collected in a retention pond and the pond water is used to irrigate lawns and shrubbery in the Center.

There are also a thousand little things that we are doing that add up,” General Services Director Heidi Petito said. “We have implemented many of the things that residents do in their own homes, such as turn off lights in rooms not being used, flow restrictors on faucets, cutting back on the thermostat, recycling programs in our buildings.”

The County also offers recycling at its recycling center on Old Kings Road for so called E-waste (computers, rechargeable drills and other electronic), oil and tires can also be recycled at no cost. Recycling is offered to all homeowners in the areas of the county outside of the cities served by Waste Pro. Bins are provided and plastics, glass, aluminum and paper is picked up once a week as part of the garbage collection cycle.

"Recycling and reuse of precious resources makes good sense and good economics," Petito said. “Flagler County will continue to pursue green practices for the environment and to save tax dollars.”

County Commission Chairman George Hanns predicted the future will be green for Flagler County.
I am proud of the great strides the County staff has made in getting the green certification.  I am sure they will continue to move forward in this direction.

Based on Flagler County Government Press Release

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