By Matthew Reitz
Fulton city officials are moving forward with a project that they say will conserve energy, reduce costs and improve the comfort of some city facilities.
Following approval from the Common Council this week, Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. will now sign an agreement with Honeywell Building Solutions that will integrate, monitor, and control the various building systems. The new system will replace a costly and declining chiller, and upgrade the controls for the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Woodward expects the project to begin later this year, and Honeywell anticipates a 12-month installation period.
Woodward said the $513,213 project focuses on the Fulton’s municipal building, which is one of the city’s major energy consumers. The bulk of the money will go toward improving the performance and efficiency of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that cover the police, fire and city offices.
The heating and cooling system in the building has not been replaced in many years, and the city is subject to considerable costs because of the inefficient nature of the current system. Woodward said the project will eventually pay for itself by lowering utility and maintenance costs.
“The savings we’re predicting will pay for the costs,” Woodward said.
The total savings could be more than $50,000 per year, according to Honeywell. The largest savings will come from 10 energy conservation measures that are expected to save the city over $30,000 each year.
The largest of the energy conservation measures is a time-of-day scheduling feature that Honeywell says could save the city as much as $7,500 each year. The time-of-day scheduling will scale back the heating and cooling when the building is not occupied at night and on weekends. The fire and police departments are occupied around the clock and will operate as they do now, but the city offices are only occupied about 30 percent of the time and the new controls will reflect that.
“They’re putting a system in that will shut down when there’s not people in the building,” Woodward said.
Woodward also said many of the large motors and fans in the building that don’t work properly and are inefficient will be replaced with new, energy-efficient variable speed motors. This could save over $13,000 each year, according to Honeywell, mostly from reduced electricity costs associated with running the motors.
The automated controls and improved heating and cooling provided by the project could make for a significant improvement on the existing system. The new system will also include motion sensor lighting to help conserve energy, and the city will install LED lighting throughout the municipal building. That work will be completed by the city. City officials are comparing the available grant and rebate programs, and hope to get reimbursed for some of those costs.
The city will be making a $50,000 down payment, and financing the remaining $463,213 over 10 years through the sale of municipal bonds. Woodward said the city expects to receive at least $30,000 in rebates from National Grid.
The common council authorized Woodward to execute the sale of 10 West Third Street North, a property acquired by the city through tax foreclosure earlier this year. The agreed upon sale price, contingent on the city paving the driveway and finishing the sidewalk, is $85,200. The property is one of several that the city has rehabilitated before selling in recent years, and Woodward said the city will continue those efforts.
“They’ve all been successful—every one of them,” Woodward said. “There will be (more), we just need to identify them.”