The town board this week approved an agreement that could make the Bedford Hills Community House, the Police Department and the highway garage more comfortable, energy efficient and cost-effective to operate and maintain.
Board members unanimously approved the authorization of the town to enter an agreement with Steven Winters Associates, a Norwalk-based energy consulting firm, which will result in a plan for fixing and upgrading aging equipment and reducing elevated energy bills, according to Mark Thielking, Bedford's energy director.
"Many of the buildings are facing end of life issues with HVAC and mechanical and other necessary repairs. In an effort to identify long-term cost savings, I'm recommending we approach this from a true comprehensive energy audit process," said Thielking.
The report would include a review of building systems—such as mechanical and electrical design and installation—as well as operating and maintanence issues. At the end of the process, the town will have a laundry list of of potential improvements and expected savings over time resulting from the improvements.
"For example, if you replace the air conditioning, it would cost X, but over time, the more energy efficient model would result in savings of Y," said Thielking.
The next phase would be for the town to select which facility upgrades make the most sense.
The town will lay out just over $18,000 for the project, with 50 percent to be paid back by the New York Energy Research and Development Corporation (NYSERDA). Town comptroller Ed Ritter said the town had funds available from a former capital project.
In recommending the board approve the agreement, Supervisor Lee Roberts said there were some urgency for the buildings, which have HVAC and other issues such as leaks.
"We have to do a lot of this anyway," said Roberts. "We should put our money where our mouth is as far as energy efficiency, and this puts on the path to getting those buildings more energy efficient and more livable for our employees there."
The board discussed the costs of the work that will be recommended in the analysis, and Thielking said—based on current energy spending levels and average savings realized by energy upgrades—he hoped the analysis would show that financing future projects could be done with projected energy savings of up to $130,000.
Inside a Home Energy Audit
Clergy Call Upon Locals to Heed 'God's Call to Care for the Earth'
'Energy Challenge' Will Help Community Groups Earn Cash