Dane County Facilities Undergoing “Green” Makeover
January 25, 2011
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Installation of Solar Panels, Replacement of Old Heating and Cooling Systems Begins Today in Several Dane County Facilities
Work begins this morning to make several Dane County facilities including the jail, sheriff’s office, highway garages, and the Job Center more energy efficient, County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today.
The county is installing solar panels at several facilities that will be used for everything from generating electricity to heating water. In addition, a number of existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) components are being replaced with new controllers and equipment that will lower the costs of heating and cooling county facilities.
The first phase of this work starts this morning (Tuesday, January 25th) when cranes will lift solar panels for a new solar water heating system onto the roof of the Public Safety Building which houses the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Dane County Emergency Management and the jail where hundreds of inmates shower and do laundry daily.
“By using more clean energy, we’re making key county facilities greener and leaner,” County Executive Kathleen Falk said. “By replacing less efficient older systems, we’ll save taxpayers big bucks and even make a little green by selling electricity generated from the rooftops of our facilities.”
All of these projects are being paid for by federal energy efficiency block grant dollars. No county tax dollars are being used for any of these improvement projects.
Instead of just using costly natural gas to heat water, the new solar water system on the roof of the Public Safety Building will use heat generated by 16 solar panels to heat hundreds of gallons of water for use in the building. Once the water is heated, it will be stored in insulated tanks in the basement and ready for use. Those tanks will hold 620 gallons of hot water.
In addition to the $160,000 in energy cost savings over the life of the system, the county will also receive a one-time $25,000 rebate from Focus on Energy for installing the new system. The $76,500 project is being paid for entirely by a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.
Solar panels being installed at the Dane County Highway Garage on Fish Hatchery Road, the Springfield Corners Highway Garage on Highway 12, and the Job Center on Aberg Avenue are expected to generate 34,500 kWh of electricity per year (enough to power several dozen homes) that will be sold to Madison Gas and Electric. Sale of that electricity will bring in over $8,600 in revenue each year for taxpayers.
Numerous modifications being made to the heating and cooling systems in county owned buildings will save the county over $148,000 in energy costs per year. In addition to the savings, the county is also applying for Focus on Energy Rebates for these retro-commissioning projects that could net an additional $50,000.
The county has awarded a contract to Joe Daniels Construction Co. Inc of Madison for the energy efficiency upgrades to the HVAC systems. Carroll Electric of Jefferson will be installing the solar panels at the highway facilities and the Job Center. H&H Solar Energy Services of Madison earned the contract for the solar water heater installation at the Public Safety Building.