This March, Sarasota County Sustainability staff and Energy Coach Volunteers partnered with the Sarasota Housing Authority (SHA) to install energy and water efficiency devices in low-income housing authority units. During the sweeps, Energy Coaches installed efficiency devices (LED lightbulbs, aerators, etc.) and looked for bigger repairs (leaks, AC unit repairs, etc.) to report back to SHA’s maintenance team. Volunteers also used this opportunity to educate residents about efficiency and provide them with individualized low and no cost savings tips.
Additionally, we identified toilet leaks with leak detection tabs. Stopping leaks is very important because a leaky toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. Volunteers also performed the dollar bill test to check that the refrigerator gasket sealed properly, not letting cold air out. They checked freezer and refrigerator temperatures, not just to make sure that they are efficient but to educate residents on food safety if the temperatures were too high. To our surprise, volunteers only ended up changing a few shower heads to low flow as most of the units already had efficient ones installed.
During the energy sweep, we were able to upgrade 32 low-income housing units and installed 166 LED lightbulbs. According to Energy Star, replacing a traditional incandescent 60W lightbulb with an LED can save an average of $163 over the life span of the bulb (20 years). This adds up to approximately $27,058 in savings for the 32 units we reached.
In the coming months, we plan on finishing the rest of the building. This great work would not be possible without our wonderful volunteers to help us make a change in our community.
As our devoted volunteer, Garth said “I always felt the need to give back, especially with energy conservation and this is a great way to do it.”
Our team is very passionate about this program because it meets all three pillars of sustainability (People, Planet, and Profit) by conserving natural resources, supporting energy equity, and saving money on utility expenses.
To learn more about energy equity and our energy upgrade program:
• Saving energy for those who need it the most
• First “Energy Sweeps” Successful
• Become an “Energy Coach” to Help Those in Need
• Visit the Energy Upgrade Website
• Learn about our partner the Sarasota Housing Authority
• Contact us for any additional information or questions at SustainableSarasota@scgov.net