As stewards of the taxpayer dollar, elected leaders are increasingly cautious of the expenditure of public funds on capital projects. Providing accountability to the public on major expenses is paramount as leaders determine the highest and best use of tax dollars. When evaluating options for infrastructure improvements, elected leaders can struggle to quantify the benefits of projects to the public. After all, at public hearings the reality is a City Council is far more likely to be extensively questioned about expenditures rather than praised for them.

The good news is that there is a way to increase the efficiency of city infrastructure and provide accountability to the taxpayer at the same time, making the prospect of performing energy efficient retrofits to city infrastructure attractive. Energy prices are on the rise and utility rates are going to increase for everyone,
including government. Running a strong city requires infrastructure, physical brick and mortar, and that infrastructure needs power. Operational costs of infrastructure are on the rise, and now more than ever, leaders should consider their options to increase efficiency.

The International Energy Association reports that buildings consume 41% of the world’s energy1. Buildings also account for 21% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions2. Energy is an astounding 32% of the lifecycle cost of a building (factoring in design and construction)3.

By performing energy efficient retrofits with lighting automation solutions, HVAC retrofits and building temperature controls, a city can dramatically decrease energy costs, resulting in significant general fund savings. While those retrofits are large capital expenses at the outset, the technology exists to provide accountability for the expenditures, which is critical for project viability.

By utilizing software available to provide a visual accounting of the actual retrofit savings, a city can provide the public with an interface to access this data and essentially audit their investment in real time. Using the data to drive the sustainability effort, cities and counties can offer a highly transparent and accountable process.

1 International Energy Agency:
2 Global Mapping of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Opportunities up to 2030”, Building Sector deep dive, June 2007.
3 Dena Congress, Berlin, 2008 Climatec is an Energy Services Company (ESCO) providing a variety of building retrofits to local governments to increase efficiency and transparency. To learn more about the opportunities for automation, efficiency projects and the subsequent data available, contact Matt Vaccaro at