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Ameresco Energy Contract to Save County $50k a Year

Renewable energy company Ameresco Inc. has signed an agreement with Las Animas County, Colo., to begin the implementation of a budget-neutral energy savings performance contract that should save the county $50,000 in its first year, the company says.

Following the recent completion of a comprehensive technical energy audit, Ameresco will start work on a series of energy efficiency and water conserving measures at seven Las Animas County facilities.

As part of the contract, Ameresco plans to demonstrate how the improvements will generate energy and water savings that will cover the associated costs of the project over the term of the contract.

In addition, Ameresco assisted the county’s solicitation of bids from banks to finance the renovations over the next 10 years, alleviating upfront financial burdens on the county and allowing for near-immediate savings once the upgrades are completed.

The seven county facilities, including the justice center, county courthouse, health department headquarters and airport, were part of this extensive energy and water review.  The proposed upgrades to these facilities include:

  • Energy efficient lighting and motion sensors
  • Upgraded toilet fixtures with infrared sensors and modified flush valves
  • Re-commissioning existing HVAC systems
  • New high-efficiency split system HVAC units
  • High-efficiency laundry systems
  • New weather-stripping and door sweeps
  • Additional perimeter insulation
  • A new high-efficiency boiler

“By upgrading existing aged and inefficient equipment, installing state-of-the-art technologies, and making simple changes, like adding door sweeps that eliminate drafts, we expect to save more than $50,000 in the first year, and this is anticipated to increase if future utility rate increases occur,” said Leslee Fresquez, Las Animas County deputy administrator.  “Equally important, we will conserve energy and in doing so, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  This project represents a win-win; it doesn’t impact the pocketbooks of our taxpayers and it is good for the environment and the county’s budget.”

Ameresco expects the current work scope to result in annual energy reductions equivalent to planting 1,042 trees or recycling 91 tons of waste instead of sending to landfills.

An energy savings performance contract is a budget-neutral way to reduce energy and water use and associated costs, and renew facilities and building systems without burdening shrinking capital budgets.  Ameresco has said it will guarantee a minimum level of energy savings over the term of the contract that will at least match the cash requirements for the project, offsetting the costs of these improvements.

In December 2010, the University of Kentucky released details of an energy savings performance contract it signed with Ameresco which involved the planned retrofit of 61 campus buildings, totaling 5.2 million square feet.

That project is funded by university-issued bonds valued at $25 million, and should produce anticipated annual savings of $2,430,000. UK said these annual savings will more than pay the annual debt service on the bonds.

Picture credit: Billy Hathorn

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