The city of Longview is investing $3.9 million to replace aging boilers, lighting and mechanical systems at city buildings with energy-efficient equipment that consultants say will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy bills during the next 15 years.
The city obtained a $500,000 state grant and will receive an estimated $393,000 utility incentive rebate for upgrading the equipment. A 15-year loan will cover the rest, and the city will pay it off with the money it saves each year on energy bills.
The first year, for example, the city will save $223,000 on energy costs, which will go toward the loan's principal and interest. By the time the loan is paid off, the city will have pocketed $564,000 in additional savings — and the new equipment will still have years of life, City Manager Bob Gregory said Thursday.
According to consultants, the energy savings will directly reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 306,265 pounds annually.
The project is part of the state's Energy Savings Performance Contracting program, which the Legislature developed to help install energy-saving equipment in publicly owned facilities without spending money up front. The upgrades must pay for themselves by guaranteed energy savings over a given time period.
Without the program, the city wouldn't be able to afford replacing the equipment, much of which is "on its last leg," Gregory said Wednesday.
In 2010 the city hired Ameresco Quantum, Inc. to audit city facilities and recommend energy upgrades. Thursday, the City Council approved Ameresco's final energy service proposal following the award of a $500,000 state Department of Commerce energy in August for the project.
The project includes installing insulated windows and replacing the heating and cooling system at City Hall, upgrading the library's heating system, replacing incandescent safety rotator lights with LEDs on city utility trucks so the lights can operate when the engines are off, replacing the furnace at Elks Memorial Building, installing water conservation devices on sinks and toilets in several buildings, repiping the library's failing plumbing and upgrading lighting at several city facilities.
Ameresco Quantum, which was among the firms on the state's pre-approved roster of energy services companies, will create engineering designs, obtain bids, manage the construction and train building staff to use the new systems. Ameresco also will provide ongoing measurement and verification to ensure the equipment saves the amount energy predicted in the first three years of the agreement.