Energy efficiency project paying off for Boyle

Published 8:39 am Monday, October 30, 2017

Boyle County is saving tens of thousands in utility costs after one year of operation under an energy-efficiency program.

Costs to operate the Boyle County Courthouse, government services center and other county facilities were down by an estimated $84,093 from April 2016 through April 2017, according to a report from Perfection Group presented at the most recent Boyle County Fiscal Court meeting.

“Baseline” energy costs — what it likely would have cost prior to the energy efficiency upgrades — would have been $246,428, according to the report. Instead, Boyle County’s costs were $162,335.

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Boyle County contracted with Perfection Group in early 2015 for a guaranteed-savings energy-efficiency project. Boyle borrowed $2.9 million in bonds to finance the project, which replaced aging heating and air-conditioning systems; lights; windows; and other equipment with modern, energy-efficient units.

Savings from the upgrades are supposed to be used to pay off the debt.

When the project began, officials told the public it had the potential to save the county more than $88,000 annually in energy and operating costs, while avoiding $2.1 million in capital costs for replacement of equipment over a 20-year period.

Perfection Group guaranteed a certain level of savings for the county through the contract; if those savings aren’t realized, Perfection must cut Boyle County a check for the difference, said Matt Callahan with the company during the fiscal court meeting.

Boyle County’s savings goal for the first year was originally about $44,000, Callahan said. But after adjusting based on what kind of weather there was during the 12-month period, that savings goal was revised upward to $54,669, he said. The final savings estimate of $84,093 was more than $29,000 larger than that revised goal, he said.

“What you did made a difference in how you saved energy,” Callahan said.

The biggest savings came at the courthouse, where costs were down by around $41,000, he said. The county also saved around $38,000 at the Boyle County Detention Center.

“Those are your two biggest hits on the savings side of it,” Callahan said.

One “anomaly” was the jail did not save as much on water costs as Perfection had predicted, Callahan said.

“The jail (population) has gone up quite a bit over that period of time, but that’s normal — we see that in the state all over,” he said. “Our water savings weren’t what we wanted. So we’re going to bring back our water contractor partner to review this thing and see where we’ve missed it and see how we can improve on that.

“… Even with a small deficit on the water side, we’ve done a good job.”

Callahan said now that there’s data on how much more energy-efficient the courthouse is, Perfection Group plans to pursue an Energy Star award for the building. Such a designation would indicate that the courthouse is among the top 25 percent of buildings in terms of energy efficiency. The building may even land in the top 12 or 13 percent of buildings, based on comments made by Callahan.

“The program from an energy standpoint is doing what it’s supposed to do,” he said.