The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has broadened its “conservation” efforts to include energy use at Department offices and nature centers. These efforts have saved $1.2 million on the Department’s energy costs since 2010, including more than $250,000 in 2016.

MDC’s energy conservation efforts include installing new energy-saving technologies in most of its largest buildings, such as nature centers and regional offices. This includes replacing incandescent lighting with more efficient LED bulbs and using climate-control systems to adjust building temperatures higher or lower after working hours. MDC has also installed motion-activated lights and heating systems that use geothermal energy.

"We want our buildings to be both comfortable and energy efficient,” said Jim Aslakson, a mechanical engineer at MDC. “By managing our temperatures better, we are able to keep our buildings at comfortable temperatures while saving money on utility costs and reducing our carbon footprint.”

MDC maintenance staff are also making sure building systems are operating as efficiently as possible with existing equipment and selecting more energy-efficient models when replacing equipment. In addition, all MDC staff are strongly encouraged to turn off lights, computers, and other equipment during unoccupied periods.

According to Aslakson, MDC has reduced energy use at numerous Department locations, including by about 45 percent at Conservation Headquarters in Jefferson City.

He added that seven of its locations have achieved ENERGY STAR® ratings. ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Its goal is to help consumers, businesses, and industry save money and protect the environment through the adoption of energy efficient products and practices. The ENERGY STAR label identifies top performing, cost-effective products, homes, and buildings.

“Our Sedalia office now has an ENERGY STAR rating of 94, meaning it’s more efficient than 94 percent of similar buildings around the country,” Aslakson said. “That’s just outstanding.”

Other ENERGY STAR locations and ratings are: Conservation Headquarters in Jefferson City (76), Central Regional Office and Conservation Research Center in Columbia (82), Northeast Regional Office in Kirksville (81), Ozark Regional Office in West Plains (75), Southeast Regional Office in Cape Girardeau (80), and the Kansas City Regional Office in Lee’s Summit (93).

“Our goal is to use less electricity and people can replicate some of these efforts in their homes,” Aslakson said. “Individuals can save money on utilities by choosing more efficient lightbulbs and heating systems, turning off lights and other energy users when not needed, and by adjusting the temperature in the home or office when not in the building.”

Learn more about ENERGY STAR at energystar.gov/. Find out more about energy efficiency assistance programs at the Missouri Public Service Commission’s website, psc.mo.gov/General/Energy_Efficiency_Assistance_Programs. For more information about MDC, visit mdc.mo.gov.