TROY, N.Y. -- As state and school officials consider similar projects, Rensselaer County officials say recent energy-saving measures at the county offices have paid big dividends.
In a Monday press release from county Executive Kathleen Jimino’s office, Jimino and legislative Chairman Martin Reid reported higher than anticipated savings in the sum of $252,545 in the first year of the county’s Energy Performance Contract, from May 2011 to April 2012.
Reduced operating costs
The efficiency upgrades at the county offices were projected to save the county $136,610 in reduced operating costs. The 2010 contract with Siemen’s Building Technologies Inc. encompassed $1.6 million in work that included a computerized energy management system, new ventilation system, and new heating and cooling systems.
Under the 15-year agreement, the county is guaranteed to save over $2.6 million on its energy costs, through reduced consumption of electricity and natural gas.
Jimino called it a "win-win" for county residents, "as we are able to cut the cost of our governmental operations by reducing our energy consumption.
"Based on the results we have achieved in the county office building, we will be looking to implement similar programs in other county-owned facilities to further reduce our energy consumption and expenses."
Reid said the county was making "every dollar count."
"We are working to protect taxpayers during these challenging economic times," he said, "whether it be through innovative energy purchases, shared services, refinancings or rebids of county insurance policies.
"It is great to see this energy performance contract not only generating a savings, but actually exceeding our initial expectations and producing a higher savings than initially forecast," Reid continued.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development describes energy performance contracting as a financing technique that uses future savings from reduced consumption to repay the initial cost of installing the energy conservation measures.
Energy service companies can provide "turnkey" service that includes energy audits, design, implementation, and project financing. The company is typically then held contractually liable for guaranteed savings resulting from the work.
Facing budget crunches and increasing energy costs, municipalities and local school districts have been exploring their options for conservation. Nearby, Hoosick Falls Central and Cambridge Central schools are both looking toward ways to reduce their usage.
At Cambridge, school officials are awaiting state Education Department approval for a $1.388 million energy performance contract that board members are considering. At Hoosick Falls, an energy committee is in the process of reviewing recent energy audits but a formal project has yet to be presented to the school board.
At the state level, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced his intentions to have the New York Power Authority finance some $450 million in cost-effective energy efficiency projects over the next four years to reduce consumption in state buildings by 20 percent.
In the release Cuomo said NYPA also intends to finance an additional $350 million to provide financing and technical services to county and local governments and schools for energy efficiency.
To that end, NYPA’s board of trustees recently approved $30 million to accelerate efficiency market development activities and spur deployment across the state.
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