The head spokesman for Jacksonville’s municipal power authority says that there is room to improve how residents and the city itself use and conserve energy.
“I see room for it, but no I don’t see a lot of that here,” said Bud Para, chief public affairs officer for JEA, referring to the types of comprehensive energy efficiency programs being implemented in cities like Austin, New York City, and Seattle.
The comments come following the release of a report by The American Council for An Energy Efficient Economy in which Jacksonville was ranked last out of 34 cities for energy efficiency measures.
“If they had gotten it right, Jacksonville still would’ve been rated fairly low,” said Para.
Para said he was disappointed to see Jacksonville ranked last, and noted several programs undertaken by JEA, including community training programs, the availability of home energy evaluation kits at city libraries, and discount and incentive programs for energy efficient upgrades that didn’t make it into the report.
“We do lots of different things, and it’s hard to tell whether that information got out to the ACEEE,” he said, noting that JEA was not contacted for the study.
Last week city officials voiced similar concerns with the report, providing a list of ongoing or planned energy efficiency that were not ranked.
While taking some issue with the report, Para also admitted that there is much more that could be done to improve energy efficiency.
“It’s amazing how many things you and I leave undone that are just obvious,” he said, noting household fixes, like caulking around windows and insulating attics.
Para said that many of the top ranked cities received points for setting energy efficiency goals or targets.
“Jacksonville generally doesn’t have those types of formal policies within the city government,” he said.
“It’s not something that’s been on the top of Jacksonville’s list,” he added, noting that the city has been working to improve in other areas, like pension reform, property tax rates, and economic development.
Para said that JEA will contact the ACEEE for assistance on future reports, and noted that they have worked with the organization on other issues.
“We didn’t like the way this came out, but maybe it will give us something as a city to look at,” he said.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter @patrickhdonges.