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County moves ahead with energy-saving plan

Posted on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 1:00 pm


Elena Cawley


Two out of the four companies that expressed interest in leading an energy-saving project for Coffee County, Trane USA and Amaresco, were chosen to give presentations at the March 8 joint meeting of Capital Outlay and Budget and Finance Committees, according to Andy Farrar, purchasing agent for Coffee County.

In December, county officials launched a project designed to make county buildings more efficient and less costly to operate.

The first step was asking interested companies to submit proposals.

According to Farrar, the county is looking for a company that specializes in guaranteed energy-savings plan for the county buildings.

The goal, Farrar said, is to develop a long-term capital improvements plan to reduce energy and maintenance cost at all county facilities, while utilizing the savings to pay for 100 percent of the plan’s implementation costs.

The four companies that submitted applications by the Dec. 5 deadline were Siemens, based in Nashville; Spectrum Solutions, based in Madison, Alabama; Amaresco, based in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Trane USA, based in Nashville.

Companies were asked to present their company’s background information, project staffing plan, personnel resumes, prior project experience, business and financial information and a list of references from similar projects.

The four organizations made 45-minute presentations in January and February.

Since then, county officials have been reviewing the companies’ qualifications and history with developing and executing similar plans at other counties and cities.

County officials are expected to make a final decision during the March joint meeting.

The initial award, which will not involve any funds, can be approved by the joint capital outlay and budget and finance committees, said Farrar.

When the company is chosen and the final plan is approved, the full commission must approve it because funding for the project has not been allocated in 2017/2018 budget.

Environmental sustainability is an important aspect of plan to reduce energy usage and maintenance costs, according to Farrar.

One of the updates county officials have discussed is installing solar panels on county buildings.

In addition to monetary savings, county officials want to focus on reducing the negative impact on the environment by going green and using solar energy.

While it’s too early to say which buildings might be upgraded with solar panels, county officials have indicated they want to see solar energy used at the Coffee County Administrative Plaza, the justice center and the new jail.


Trane Project

Trane is one of the companies selected to present on March 8. Trane and the county have already had a joint project.

In 2015, the Coffee County Budget and Finance Committee approved a level debt service payment plan to fund $4.67 million in energy efficient updates in Coffee County schools.

The project has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6.2 million pounds per year, according to Trane representatives.

Trane identified more than $6 million in beneficial infrastructure upgrades after receiving the results of an investment-grade audit, but Coffee County Schools chose to move forward with $4,674,781 in upgrades with the permission of the budget and finance committee.

The school system was guaranteed to save about $336,000 annually in energy and utility spending after performing the upgrades.

The money saved by the school system has been used to pay for the debt service, making the project self-paying.

The level debt service payment plan approved by the budget and finance committee involves 15 years of payments with a 2.8 percent interest rate.

The energy-saving project implemented by Coffee County Schools, in its first year, has resulted in greater savings than expected, according to officials.

According to the report presented in January, actual savings recorded between January and August 2017 exceeded the guaranteed savings by $72,000.

For that period, Trane’s guaranteed savings were about $195,000, while the actual savings were $267,000.

Elena Cawley may be reached by email at tngenrep@lcs.net.