ECUA’S BAYOU MARCUS BOARDWALK: WHERE NORTHWEST FLORIDA’S WILDLIFE CALLS Since 1997, the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority’s (ECUA) Bayou Marcus Water Reclamation Facility, located in Pensacola at 3050 Fayal Drive, has been the recipient of two Gold and nine Silver Awards from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies. The facility is also known for its Boardwalk, which spans coastal wetlands near Perdido Bay.
The Boardwalk is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, a 2,000-mile, self-guided nature trail supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, which connects nearly 500 birding sites throughout Florida.
“I consider the Boardwalk to be one of the Emerald Coast’s hidden gems,” said ECUA District 1 Board Member Ms. Elizabeth Campbell. “It’s a rare win-win situation that uses nature’s own filtration system, preserves our wetlands and provides public access for recreation without disturbing the natural habitat. I only hope that more local residents take the opportunity to enjoy ECUA’s ‘green practice’ gem.”
The Boardwalk is built above the Bayou Marcus Wetlands, offering visitors an opportunity to walk through an authentic Northwest Florida wetland ecosystem, which provides spectacular views and an up-close opportunity to see wildlife that’s indigenous to the area. The abundance of fresh, clean water, which is reclaimed water from the Bayou Marcus facility and averaging approximately 6.2 million gallons per day, keeps the large and diverse bird population, as well as
white-tailed deer, Osceola turkeys, gray foxes, raccoons, rabbits, beavers, bobcats, turtles, otters, snakes, and even alligators on and around the site.
There are 17 known endangered, threatened and species of special concern observed at the Bayou Marcus Wetlands. They are American alligator, Eastern Indigo snake, gopher tortoise, brown pelican, Least tern, Pinewoods bluestem, spoonleaf sundew, Pineland bogbutton, panhandle lily, Southern twayblade, Naked stem panic grass, yellow butterwort, Chapman’s butterwort, Southern butterwort, Rose pogonia, White-top pitcher plant, and the Parrot pitcher plant.
The walk is about 300 yards to the Boardwalk ramp from the parking area, then a mile and a half to the end. “It is not a loop, so it’s recommended to only go as far as you are willing to walk back,” said Jim Roberts, ECUA Public Information Officer. “Generally, the Boardwalk is open year-round for the public to enjoy, but we allow access only during the daylight hours. We maintain a Boardwalk communications line, which provides updated information. Come see us, but it’s always best to call the information line first at 458-1658.”
For a list of individual Birding Trail sites of the Great Florida Birding Trail with information and contact phone numbers, visit floridabirdingtrail.com.
ESCAMBIA COUNTY SOLID WASTE: REBLENDED PAINT Escambia County Division of Solid Waste Management Household Hazardous Waste collects latex and oil based paints for recycling. Oil-based paints are decanted and sent to a processor to be recycled. Water-based (latex) paint is reblended and made available to the public for free.
Escambia County collects approximately 14,000 gallons of latex paint for disposal each year. In 2007, Escambia County Solid Waste Management and Habitat for Humanity worked out a paint partnership—Escambia County would produce reblended paint for use, and Habitat Restore would use most of the paint.
The process is simple. Paint is a household hazardous waste that the county collects from citizens at its regional roundups and the Citizen’s Convenience Center at Perdido Landfill. Every can is opened to determine quality and color and sorted into latex and oil-based categories.
The latex paint is stored until there are about 1,000 gallons to be mixed. Cans of similar colors are opened, screened and poured into the mixing tank, where the paint is mixed for approximately two hours, then screened and decanted into five-gallon buckets.
Every Thursday morning at 8 a.m., the Household Hazardous Waste Center opens its doors to the public to give away the reblended paint. The paint comes in five-gallon buckets with a sealed lid.
For more information, contact Household Hazardous Waste at 937-2156.
ESP: CONVERT TO TANKLESS WATER HEATER The energy used to heat water typically accounts for 20 percent of the average household’s energy costs, and as much as 40 percent of that energy is slowly lost due to the radiant heat loss from the storage tank.
Since tankless water heaters operate entirely “on demand” only when hot water is needed, thermal heat loss is almost completely eliminated, resulting in as much as a 50 percent savings in your water heating costs.
Energy Services of Pensacola has several rebates and incentives available for homeowners:
Current Tankless Water Heater Rebate—Offer Valid Through March 31, 2011 $1,000 incentive for a tankless water heater per home when replacing your electric or natural gas water heater. Residential natural gas tankless waters heaters placed in service from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011 qualify for a $300 federal tax credit.
New Tankless Water Heater Rebates—Effective April 1, 2011 $1,000 incentive for a tankless water heater per home when replacing your electric water heater. $750 incentive for a tankless water heater per home when replacing your natural gas water heater. Residential natural gas tankless water heaters placed in service from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011 qualify for a $300 federal tax credit.
Incentive to Replace Electric Water Heater $850 incentive when replacing an electric water heater with an efficient natural gas water heater. Some residential natural gas tank water heaters placed in service from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011 may qualify for a $300 federal tax credit.
Incentive to Replace Electric Heating System $800 incentive when replacing an electric heating system with an efficient natural gas heating system.
Incentive to Upgrade Gas Heating System $400 incentive when upgrading an existing gas heating system or upgrading from natural gas space heating to natural gas furnace central heating.
Incentive to Replace Propane Water Heater $350 incentive when replacing a propane water heater with an efficient natural gas water heater. Some residential natural gas tank water heaters placed in service from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011 may qualify for a $300 federal tax credit.
Incentive to Replace Propane Appliances $100 incentive when replacing propane appliances with efficient natural gas appliances.
Incentive To Upgrade Natural Gas Water Heater $350 incentive when replacing a natural gas water heater with a newer, more efficient natural gas water heater. Some residential natural gas tank water heaters placed in service from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2011 may qualify for a $300 federal tax credit.
Incentive to Install Solar Water Heating System with Gas Backup $200 incentive when installing a solar water heating system with a tank or tankless natural gas back-up water heater. Other water heating incentives do not apply.
The ESP rebate will be sent in the form of a check to the homeowner upon completion of installation and inspection by the building official. Download an ESP rebate application form at espnaturalgas.com.
GULF BREEZE NATURAL GAS: REBATES TO SWITCH Across Pensacola Bay, Gulf Breeze Natural Gas provides natural gas along the Fairpoint Peninsula. The utility, which is owned by the City of Gulf Breeze, offers through April 30 a bevy of rebates for homeowners and businesses in its service area. The maximum available to any individual customer is $1,500.
If a customer installs a natural gas water heater and a natural gas heating system in new construction, the rebate is $1,200. If natural gas appliances are installed new or to replace electric ones, the rebate is $100 per appliance, up to a maximum of three appliances.
Switch the heating system or the water heater from electric to natural gas, and you’ll qualify for a $500 rebate. Upgrading an old natural gas water heater to a new natural gas water heater earns a $250 rebate.
The rebate registration form is available online at super-energy.com and at Gulf Breeze City Hall, 1070 Shoreline Drive. For additional information, call 934-5108.
GULF COAST ENERGY NETWORK ‘POWER UP ENERGY EXPO’ The largest energy expo along the Gulf Coast is coming to Pensacola Beach April 11-13. The Power Up Energy Expo draws energy leaders, policy makers, scientists, engineers and green building enthusiasts from all across the country.
Energy plays a critical role in the daily lives of everyone. Securing this nation’s future is dependent on improving the way energy is used and exploring new ways to harness energy, while protecting our environment, our national security and human health. Power Up Energy Expo provides an unmatched opportunity to connect with other energy industry experts, influential business leaders, policy makers, conservationists and green building enthusiasts, as they share innovative techniques to address the energy issues and advance the green building movement.
Attendees will hear presentations and panel discussions across all energy sectors including wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, ocean and bioenergy. There are seven tracks that participants can choose to attend.
Bioenergy & Biofuels Track provides a look at the current state of advanced bioenergy and biofuels research and how that research is being applied. The Track will present an overview of the current state of the bioenergy industry and to promote discussion about the direction of future research and innovative production methods. The presenters will address applications of new technologies and discuss research, development and demonstration of biochemical conversion technologies that convert biomass to biofuels, chemicals and power.
High-Performance Green Buildings Track offers a comprehensive look at high-performance buildings starting with the building envelope, comprehensive facility audits, retro-commissioning, Life Cycle Cost Assessments and on-site renewable energy. The presenters will discuss current challenges to verifying actual building performance, limitations of certain measurement and verification techniques, and offer strategies to verify high-performance building operations.
The discussion will address high-performance sustainable strategies for both new and existing buildings.
Water Technology Track brings together experts in the field of water conservation to provide case studies of strategies that have been successfully implemented and proven to save water and lower operating expenses for facility owners and building operators.
Advanced Wastewater Technology Track offers case studies in advanced wastewater treatment and energy and water conservation strategies and provides a good discussion on the latest industry practices.
Alternative Transportation Track investigates current and future technologies, as well as advancements in transportation, from compact walkable communities to high-speed rail. The Track will also discuss sources of alternative supply chain energy to reduce cost and environmental impacts. The presenters will discuss alternative-fueled vehicles that range from gas-friendly to gas-free. This session covers new techniques to manage energy and fuel procurement to drive down costs and improve fuel efficiency and deliver lower emissions.
Carbon Management Track has a lively panel discussion of the most up-to-date information affecting carbon management and the strategies to track greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation opportunities, constraints and challenges.
Microgrid Technology Track discusses microgrid applications and various distributed generation technologies such as micro-turbine, fuel cell, photovoltaic systems, as well as energy storage devices such as battery, condenser and flywheel. The technical challenges to microgrid such as voltage and frequency control and islanding of microgrids will also be discussed.
To register for the conference, visit powerupenergyexpo.com.
GULF POWER: NET METERING Gulf Power customers who install a renewable energy system, up to two megawatts, at their home or business may qualify for interconnection to the Gulf Power system. Gulf Power will meter the system and provide credits for any excess electricity through a process called net metering.
The renewable energy may be produced from a method that uses one or more of the following fuel sources: hydrogen, biomass, solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, waste heat or hydroelectric power. Renewable energy sources are readily replenished through natural processes and thus considered beneficial to the environment. The most common for our area is solar energy.
Net metering programs serve as an important incentive for consumer investment in renewable energy generation, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It enables customers to use their own generation to offset their consumption over a billing period by allowing their electric meters to turn backwards when they generate electricity in excess of their demand. This offset means that customers receive retail prices for the excess electricity they generate.
The Department of Energy sees net metering as a low-cost, easily administered method of encouraging customer investment in renewable energy technologies. It increases the value of the electricity produced by renewable generation and allows customers to “bank” their energy and use it a different time than it is produced, giving customers more flexibility and allowing them to maximize the value of their production. Providers may also benefit from net metering because when customers are producing electricity during peak periods, the system load factor is improved.
Gulf Power has a simple process to get set up for net metering. After a customer’s renewable generation is installed and inspected by the local code official, the customer completes and forwards the Standard Interconnection Application and required documentation to Gulf Power. The utility reviews the documentation and forwards the customer an Interconnection Agreement, which the customer signs and returns to Gulf Power.
Gulf Power schedules and conducts inspection. Upon successful inspection, Gulf Power installs appropriate metering equipment and updates customer’s billing data. The utility authorizes customer to interconnect via letter.
For more information, contact Gulf Power’s Renewable Specialist at 444-6152.