Fulton County considers energy conservation project

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors’ Finance Committee on Thursday will review a proposed $1.2 million to $1.4 million energy conservation project at county government buildings.

The board’s Public Safety Committee on Monday heard a presentation from SmartWatt Energy Inc. of Clifton Park on an energy audit it did of all the county’s buildings. SmartWatt Energy offered last November to perform and certify the audit in conjunction with state Energy Law, at no cost to the county.

“This project’s scope was specifically designed to reduce capital spending and maximize energy dollars,” SmartWatt Energy Project Developer Greg Royer told the committee.

Fulton County has a proposed $1.8 million energy conservation capital project in the county’s 2015 capital plan. The idea is to improve energy efficiency of county buildings while lessening overall energy consumption.

Royer said an energy conservation project may cost $1.2 to $1.4 million. Annual energy savings may be $67,535. The project will pay for itself in about 14 years.

SmartWatt proposed a county contract, after which the firm could solicit bids for project financing and work with the county to create a construction schedule.

Much of Monday’s presentation centered on the needs of the County Office Building, County Jail and Department of Social Services’ Cooper Building.

Royer took supervisors through a dozen energy conservation measures that can be implemented, including having the entire DSS building upgraded with LED technology. Royer said the lighting load will be cut by more than 60 percent. All exterior county lighting will be replaced with LED technology.

“For a minimum of 10 years, they’re going to be maintenance free,” he said.

Royer said the county can do weatherization improvements, including door weather-stripping, window caulking and gravity vent air sealing.

The project would include sealing the floor and putting a thermal barrier in more than 18,000 square feet of attic space at the County Office Building and the Fort Johnstown Annex.

Royer said the county can also have a fully-automated control system of all heating-ventilation-air conditioning equipment at county buildings. A total of 486 equipment points and sensors would be added throughout the HVAC equipment.

“The jail, right now, is the only facility that is completely automated,” Royer said. “It’s going to make the system work a lot more efficiently than it is.”

Royer said the audit found the county can use PC load management software that will automatically put PCs, monitors, printers and switches to “sleep” when not in use. He said this system will control 530 pieces of equipment.

“Essentially, this is a piece of software that resides in your existing networks,” he said.

Other efforts could entail boiler replacement, water conservation, steam traps and transformer replacement.

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