Union County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to conduct a test of the “Green Communities” program, administered by BreezePlay LLC, a green technology company based in Charlotte, N.C. Union is the first city in South Carolina to test the Green Communities system.
Under the plan approved Tuesday, 100 residential utility customers will receive BreezePlay’s Enviro Scape Energy Management System. The system wirelessly monitors a home’s energy use 24 hours a day and can be set to automatically adjust thermostats, electric water heaters and other appliances to maximize energy efficiency and reduce monthly utility bills. The system reports electricity usage and provides hourly, daily, weekly and monthly reporting so customers can see how their efforts are saving energy and money.
Utility director Joe Nichols said that his department has tested the system in the city and found that it will help reduce consumption. Nichols said it does provide participants with regular reports on their energy consumption and how much they’re saving.
“If you set a target, it tells you during that month if you are using your energy at the rate of the target you set,” he said. “It gives you warnings if you need to cut back on energy usage in your residence.”
Participants will also earn “green” benefits for the city such as flowers, trees, landscaping and other environmental improvements. The more energy a participant saves, the more benefits they will earn for their community. They will then be able to decide what benefits they want for their community and where they want them used.
Participants will also receive discounts and special offers from participating Green Communities businesses. BreezePlay will recruit local businesses to provide the discounts and special offers.
“There is nothing like this in South Carolina,” Nichols said. “We are proud to be one of the first cities in the southeast to offer this Green Communities program to our citizens. Uniting the people, businesses and the power utility in Union will make a huge impact for the benefit of the whole city, and will create a real spotlight on the city for the country.”
The city is seeking participants for the program which will be implemented this fall. For more information call 429-1721 or email email@example.com.
Water plant operator
Council also voted unanimously to hire an additional operator at the city’s filtration plant. Nichols said the extra person is needed to ensure the facility is manned at all times in light of retirements and other turnovers in personnel. Nichols said the new employee would be trained to work any shift in the event of a scheduled operator’s absence.
The plant has been short-handed for the past four months resulting in $11,934 in overtime. Nichols said that hiring an additional operator would largely eliminate the need for overtime.
Nichols said the plant needs to be manned around the clock because it operates 24 hours a day, filtering an average of 3.5 million gallons of water a day. It also serves as the after business hours contact for customers and serves as the city’s dispatcher of personnel in the event of an emergency.
Council also voted unanimously to award the bid for the removal of a pre-engineered metal building at 211 Thompson Boulevard to Smith Backhoe & Construction Co. for $1,550. Smith is buying the building from the city and will remove it from the site at his expense.