Optimizing Public Infrastructure with Guaranteed Energy Savings
Many government organizations are using suboptimal energy systems that haven’t been modernized to keep up with the highest efficiency standards. In fact, the federal government is the largest energy consumer in the country. State and local government entities housed in historic buildings constructed decades, even centuries ago, prove to be similarly energy inefficient. But last year Madison County, located in Central New York, decided it was time to make a change by updating their building systems using a performance contract, which results in no upfront capital and guaranteed energy savings to pay the projects.
Madison County partnered with SmartWatt to complete a bundled energy systems optimization project to lower energy costs and improve the wellbeing of occupants throughout its county building campus. One of the primary challenges facing the county was poor insulation, allowing unconditioned outside air to enter buildings at their seams, doors and windows. This problem caused uneven temperatures, staff discomfort, and overuse of HVAC equipment. Additionally, the large number of windows throughout the administrative office, veterans building, and social services facility caused excessive heat and glare. The initiative required no starting capital and paid for itself with an energy performance contract that used guaranteed energy savings to finance the project costs.
Upgrades to the campus included modernizing mechanical systems. The failing boilers, hot water heaters, and water source heat pumps were replaced with cutting-edge equipment that require less energy to operate and maintain. Additionally, the systems were equipped with open-protocol controls and tied back to the county’s existing building automation system, allowing for scheduling based on occupancy and temperature to achieve deeper energy savings.
Enhancing the lighting systems entailed replacing the existing fluorescent and metal halide fixtures with high efficiency LED fixtures throughout interior and exterior areas, which reduced energy consumption while providing a higher quality of light and increased security at night.
To address the pesky building issues, all entrance doors, windows, rooftop ventilators, and roof/wall joints were properly sealed and caulked to increase thermal resistance. Window tinting film was added to reduce heat during the summer, decrease reflection of radiant heat during the winter months, and enhance privacy for ground level offices while still permitting sunlight. Other facility upgrades included replacing existing transformers, and integrating electronically commutated motors in walk-in coolers and freezers. All installed equipment came with a five year warranty, resulting in zero maintenance resources from the county during this period.
Madison County’s energy project yielded reduced maintenance costs, enhanced occupant comfort, and a positive impact on the local community. It reduces carbon emissions by 1,082 tons; the equivalent of planting 982 acres of trees or what it takes to power 104 homes annually. This comes at no extra costs to taxpayers as the county contributed $0 to implement the $2.94 million initiative. The project was paid for utilizing the guaranteed energy savings from the optimized systems.
Every year SmartWatt collaborates with government entities like Madison County to help them achieve their sustainability goals and improve their community and citizens’ way of life.
For more information on how to begin a successful partnership with SmartWatt, click here to contact an expert.