Employee finds new ways to deliver energy and cost savings

Ben Rupert

Ben Rupert, Energy Manager with Facilities Management Division

Ben Rupert has been the Energy Manager in King County’s Facilities Management Division (FMD) for a little over a year but has already made significant contributions to the County’s reduction targets for energy use and operating costs in its facilities.

King County is on track to meet its 2015 goal of reducing energy use in its facilities by 15 percent over the baseline 2007 usage. For more than two years, the County has been meeting its goal of generating the equivalent of 50 percent of county government energy needs through renewable resources. At the end of 2014, the County had reduced energy use by 16.3% versus the 2007 baseline.

Ben has focused his efforts on providing leadership in four areas: technical training for internal staff, project financing, occupant/staff engagement and policy review and development. In 2014 he coordinated training for FMD operating engineers to become certified building operators, which will ensure that County buildings are operated as efficiently as possible while also offering career development for employees. He secured grant funding to continue this effort, and FMD is on track to have more than 15 staff certified through this program by the end of 2015.

He also worked to identify funding or low cost financing for energy conservation projects and was able to secure $750,000 in grants for resource efficiency and renewable energy projects such as a $475,000 grant from the Washington Department of Commerce to install solar photovoltaic energy generation at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Ben has multiple projects that have begun or will start in the 2015/2016 biennium, ranging from exploring collaborative conservation opportunities in large scale construction projects to water and solid waste conservation strategies. He has collaborated with local utilities to find energy incentives to reduce the upfront costs of these projects to the County, and is continuing his efforts to secure low cost financing and creative funding strategies for cost-effective conservation projects.

Ben is very enthusiastic about the progress we are making and proud to be a part of the team that is helping King County become a regional leader in sustainability. ”As King County blazes the sustainable infrastructure trail, sharing knowledge, resources, and lessons learned with other entities is important to me,” Ben said. “Fortunately, we live in a connected world, and emerging groups such as the King County Cities Climate Collaborative facilitate creative idea sharing and inter-governmental partnerships.”