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County to launch energy-saving infrastructure upgrades

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Clayton County officials, along with Trane, Inc., are rolling out a plan to complete vital, infrastructure upgrades to several county-owned buildings and facilities.

The improvements are expected to save the county $361,000 annually in utility costs, and earn the county $213,000 a year in annual carbon-credit revenues.

Today at 4 p.m., the county and Trane, Inc., will host a ceremony and reception at the Clayton County Administration Building at 112 Smith St., in Jonesboro, to officially launch the effort.

According to Trane Account Executive Doug Hennen, the county will finance energy-saving renovations at its Headquarters Library, Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) complex, Behavior Health building, Annex III building, Clayton County Board of Health/County Archives building, the Harold R. Banke Justice Center, the Shellnut Inter-Generational Center, and the Clayton County Landfill in Lovejoy.

"The main scope of the work is some fairly comprehensive, mechanical replacements," Hennen said. "A lot of the buildings are operating twenty-four-seven, because they have no controls. By adding in controls, you can cut back and have an intelligent building."

Hennen said the improvements will cost the county $5.5 million over 10 years, and will include: The replacement of 12,500 county light fixtures, with high-efficiency lighting technology; meter consolidation of the Harold R. Banke Justice Center and the Jim Huie Recreation Center/Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center, to reduce the unit cost of electricity; a methane-collection system at the Clayton County Landfill; retrofitting at the Headquarters Library to minimize air infiltration and the loss of conditioned air; and automation systems and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system upgrades installed at several buildings, in order to conserve energy and heating costs.

According Hennen, Trane, Inc., did similar work at municipal buildings in Peachtree City, saving the city about $180,000 in water and energy costs last year. He said the company is currently in the process of doing similar energy-saving projects in Cobb and Gwinnett counties.

"We've been doing this for quite a long time," Hennen said. "Why its so receptive to counties now is because budgets with counties are tighter than ever. If they can offset what they have to do by lowering their utility bill, it's a win-win for the county and the citizens. You are lowering your carbon footprint and improving the environment. They are also able to do these repairs without raising taxes."

In November, the county also contracted with Siemens Industry, Inc., in order to institute other energy-saving improvements. According to Siemens Account Executive Jim Bode, the company will institute approximately $5.1 million in upgrades, which include lighting, plumbing fixtures, and air-handling-unit improvements at all of the county's fire stations, the county's recreation and senior centers, its branch libraries, and several buildings along Government Circle in Jonesboro.

The contract with Siemens is also a 10-year agreement, according to Bode.

"We're excited about implementing these new energy-efficient upgrades in our county buildings that will also improve the working conditions for county employees," said Clayton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Eldrin Bell, in a written statement. "We're especially please that we'll be able to pay for the upgrades through energy and operational savings."