South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) team members Shawn Fujioka and Talia Perluss have spent hundreds of hours cataloging the nuances of vending machines, light bulbs and windows, along with more than a dozen other facility features, at municipal locations spanning five South Bay cities.
Their efforts are part of a Facility Equipment Inventory (FEI) Pilot Program to track municipal facilities’ energy-using equipment. The inventory, funded by the Southern California Regional Energy Network (SoCalREN), will help identify energy-saving opportunities. Findings will also inform the SBCCOG to advocate for potential resources to help cities convert to more sustainable equipment now and in the future.
“One of the main objectives is to create a comprehensive list of everything in the building, and then maintain it for years to come,” said Perluss. Perluss is fulfilling a CivicSpark Fellowship at the SBCCOG with this project. CivicSpark annually provides 135 fellows the opportunity to gain direct professional, technical and leadership experience. That includes work on climate initiatives, water management or affordable housing issues.
According to Perluss, among the more surprising revelations of the inventories was a plentitude of fluorescent lights and 90’s-era microwaves.
“We’ve been to buildings that are all fluorescent lights, but each city also has their own thing they are leading the way with—such as a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system—even though they might fall short in other areas,” she said.
The program is a joint effort between the SBCCOG and the SoCalREN. SoCalREN is a partner of the SBCCOG’s Environmental Services Center (SBESC) that provides energy efficiency resources and programs for residents, businesses and public agencies.
In the past, cities have been able to replace high-cost equipment items through Capital Improvement Plans (CIPs). Historically, the SoCalREN has worked with cities to execute such plans through efficiency audits that gather data only on larger return-on-investment items. By contrast, the FEI project casts a wider net to catalog all energy-using equipment. The finished ledger will aid in the development of future replacement timelines and project development.
“This detailed data empowers cities in the South Bay region to better plan for energy-efficient projects and upgrades throughout their facility portfolio, thereby saving them time, energy and money,” said Leah Myhre, project manager, SoCalREN.
HOW FACILITY EQUIPMENT INVENTORIES WORK
The process involves taking photos of and entering information about each item into a workbook. The workbook segments information into 17 sections. Within those sections are items such as windows, doors, lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, water systems, refrigeration, power generation, food preparation, pools, saunas and spas, and electric vehicles chargers to name a few.
“We usually take 300 photos, per person, per site,” said Fujioka, a former SBCCOG CivicSpark Fellow and now full-time employee. “Having so much information and seeing it all in one organized place is mind-blowing.”
To date, Fujioka and Perluss have completed inventories in Carson, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach—all SoCalREN-member cities.
“The SBCCOG staff was very helpful and adapted well to the intricacies of our disparate facilities and equipment,” said Douglass Krauss, Environmental Programs manager, City of Hermosa Beach. We look forward to seeing the result of the Inventory and turning that information into actionable items to help our ongoing sustainability efforts.”
Fujioka and Perluss aim to eventually include 10 to 20 facilities in South Bay Cities, with at least half in disadvantaged communities.
“Seeing all the data in the rows and columns quantifies how much potential there is for improvement. It feels empowering to see how, through a few modifications, cities can play a small part to help protect our planet in the future,” Perluss said. •
For more information about the FEI program contact Shawn Fujioka at 424-271-4685 or [email protected].