Fulton County seeks energy proposals

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday authorized seeking requests for proposals for an estimated $1.5 to $1.8 million energy efficiency project for county facilities.

County Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost on Tuesday said the exact figure of work needed for the countywide project won’t be known until the proposals come in. Energy service companies being solicited will be doing a full audit of county government’s energy needs and submit what they think will be guaranteed savings, he said.

“It should give us information so we can decide if we want to do anything at all,” said Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan.

The board resolution passed Monday at the County Office Building was based of Yost’s proposal for a countywide energy efficiency capital project in 2014. The project goal is to install energy-reducing systems in county facilities on a performance-contracting basis, including heating, cooling, ventilation, lights not previously done, water heating and other energy uses.

Supervisors authorized RFPs until Oct. 9 from firms to implement the project.

But Bleecker Supervisor David Howard said he has “concerns” about the estimated cost of the project.

“I don’t completely understand how this is going to function,” he said.

Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery – who was the only supervisor on record opposed – noted the county did a lighting project a few years ago that didn’t save as much as originally estimated. He was alluding to an extensive $179,000 lighting project implemented in 2009 by SmartWatt of Schenectady that never saved the county $85,000 annually that was estimated.

“It’s going to have to be monitored more closely,” Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said of the new project.

Born called the concept for the countywide energy savings project “wonderful,” something that needs to be implemented.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead said the RFP will unearth how much potential savings might occur.

“In theory, that’s what this RFP is supposed to show you,” he said.

Stead said the county may not spend up to the estimated amount. He said the county also has the option to pick and choose project elements, such as “swapping out boilers” at county facilities.

But Broadalbin Supervisor Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo said it seems like the county is spending money to break even.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com