Audit: Village could save by spending $2m on energy efficiency

Village Hall (photo by Dion Ogust)

Village Hall (photo by Dion Ogust)

A Milwaukee-based energy company says the village would reap significant energy savings by purchasing new water meters, windows, light bulbs and boilers through the company, though it would depend how many years it takes the village to pay off the bond to purchase the equipment.

For the last 12 months, employees of Johnson Controls have been conducting an energy audit that included village-owned buildings, streetlights and water meters. Company rep David Booth told village trustees at their May 5 meeting that by spending a little more than $2 million, they could improve energy efficiency, lower utility bills, decrease operational expenses and reduce the village’s carbon footprint.

As part of their audit, Johnson Controls did “in-depth facilities and operations studies,” completing an analysis of utility and water/sewer bills the village pays and testing water meters.


Booth said one of the recommendations is to replace all 1,388 water meters in the village for new meters that can be read from a vehicle driving around the district, which will automatically feed the information into the water department’s billing system.

The company recently measured the efficiency of 66 meters and found they were only 92 percent accurate, while the new meters will be 98 percent accurate in measuring water usage. More accurate water meters will mean more revenue for the village because when the meters are inaccurate, they underreport usage. He estimated the village would bring in about $14,000 more by using the more accurate meters.

These are the same type of water meters that created a stir in the town of Saugerties when a number of residents questioned their safety after being told the town would be switching to them.

Town officials eventually relented under pressure from some of the residents and those who did not want the more efficient meters were allowed to opt out of the program.

Mayor William Murphy, when asked if he would allow residents to opt out of the new meters, snapped back that no one would be allowed to opt out in the village should trustees chose to go with the new meters.

In addition to installing new water meters, Mark Bauman, an energy engineer with Johnson, said that new energy efficient double-pane windows would be installed in Village Hall.

Light bulbs in the village-owned decorative lights that line Main, Market and Partition streets will be swapped out for more energy efficient ones.

Doors and windows at the village will all be weatherized with caulking and weather strips.

Boilers at a number of village-owned buildings will be replaced with more energy efficient models.

The cost of all the work, which would be done through Johnson should trustees agree at their May 19 meeting, will be $2,016,170.

Trustees would bond for the work, but if they move forward, they have yet to decide on the duration of the bond. Booth said should they decide to enter into a contract with Johnson Controls, the village would realize an annual benefit of $89,421, but if it issued a 20-year bond, the annual payment would be about $100,808, according to numbers provided by Booth, which would mean a net cost of $11,887 the first year and varying amounts over the course of the remaining 19 years. A shorter bond period would carry less interest and could result in savings.

Booth added the village would realize energy savings of about 27.5 percent and would reduce its green house gas emissions by 147 tons of CO2 per year.

If trustees agree to Johnson Controls’ proposal, the new water meters will be installed beginning in August and all work on the project would be completed by February.

A decision will be made at the trustees’ May 19 meeting in the village firehouse at 43 Partition St. at 7 p.m.