Green building and energy is a part of Clearwater Greenprint, the city's sustainability plan
Most buildings in Clearwater were built during a time when electricity was cheap and abundant and less was known about the potential environmental impacts. Today, the effects of conventional energy sources on our global and local environments is better understood. Reducing the amount of energy used through efficiency improvements to existing buildings and the development of new buildings to high-performance standards, coupled with shifting to renewable energy sources, is now recognized as one of the most important actions needed to create a more sustainable community and future.
Why Green Energy & Buildings Matter
Electricity continues to be the biggest contributor to our community-wide GHG emissions, with most of that electricity being used for the lighting, heating, and cooling of buildings. Clearwater purchases all electricity from Duke Energy, a private utility company. As of 2017, Duke Energy relied on fossil fuels (i.e., coal and natural gas) to generate 61.7% of the electricity it produced. Nuclear energy accounted for 33.7% of the remaining electricity, while wind and solar accounted for 3.9%.
Making a positive impact on the city’s energy use is a community effort and will require the participation of residents, businesses, and institutions alike. Each can reduce energy use by implementing such measures as attic insulation, duct leak repair, replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs, and upgrading air conditioning units, windows, and appliances to more efficient ones.
In addition to reducing the amount of energy used, it is also important to find opportunities for renewable energy. Without action, the community will continue to rely on fossil fuels, leading to significant increases in energy costs and GHG emissions over the next 25 years. With Clearwater being a mostly developed city, the potential for renewable energy expansion will rely on the installation of smaller systems distributed across the city as opposed to large-scale centralized plants.