Between air conditioning, lights and appliances, buildings consume a lot of energy. That high energy consumption requires high energy production -- from sources like coal and oil, which contribute to global warming and sea-level rise.
All of which threatens the future livability of Miami-Dade County.
But county officials are hoping to intervene through a program called the City Energy Project. It's a national initiative in which 19 cities and one county -- MDC -- receive funding to help residents and businesses cut energy use.
"There's so much that we need to do around climate change and global warming," said Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who helped introduce the program to county leaders and worked on the application to the program. "We have the opportunity and the obligation to reduce our own carbon emissions so we can reduce worldwide the increase of temperature. We have a lot we can do right here at home."
Through the project, the county Office of Resilience will get a new staff member. That person will help building owners cut down on emissions by identifying inefficiencies and suggesting improvements. County officials believe energy-conserving efforts could lead to significant financial savings over time -- maybe as much as $200 million per year by 2030.
"As you reduce your energy use, you’re reducing your operating costs," Levine Cava said. "Eventually, there’ll be a cost-savings for everyone involved."
Levine Cava says the county will kick off its participation by asking businesses and building owners to volunteer for an energy audit.