By Alyssa Schnugg
A few months back, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors hired PATH, an energy services company based in Jackson, to review county-owned buildings to evaluate whether the county can save money on its hefty utility bill.
On Monday, William Franklin, with PATH, presented the results of the preliminary study of the county’s energy efficiency and possible cost-saving measures.
The county spends about $631,860 annually on utilities.
Three buildings – the Courthouse, the Chancery Building and the Detention Center account for 51 percent of the total utility costs, with the jail using the most at 27 percent which amounts to about $173,272 annually. The county pays the utility bill for about 28 buildings/offices.
Franklin told the Board that the county could save up to $150,000 a year by doing some basic energy-saving measures, including using LED lighting, upgrading HVAC controls, HVAC retro-commissioning and water conversation measures.
“The ESCO business is highly regulated. We have to guarantee those savings,” he said. “If there is a shortfall in those savings aren’t there, we cut you a check.”
Other changes that could save energy costs include new windows and doors and the Courthouse and Chancery building and roofing system replacement.
The Board voted to proceed with the energy study and allow PATH to take the next step by performing an Investment Grade Audit Design, which takes about four to six months to complete.
“It’s a deep dive into the county’s infrastructure,” Franklin said. “We’ll look at every single county building.”
The IGA would include taking a full lighting inventory and HVAC documentation, enveloping an evaluation of roofing, windows, doors, et cetera and water usage analysis.
The fee for the IGA is $75,000; however, should the Board decide to move forward with suggested projects, the fee would be included in the price of the project or projects.
“We’re going to come back with a bunch of projects, and you’re going to say, ‘yes’ ‘no’ ‘yes,’” Franklin told the Board. “And you’ll select projects that make sense for you.”