County borrows $2.5 million for energy efficiency projects

Montgomery County legislators voted Tuesday to issue $2.5 million in serial bonds to pay for energy upgrades that could save the county nearly $200,000 per year.

Legislators heard a presentation in November 2015 from two representatives of SmartWatt, an energy efficiency company based in Ballston Lake, detailing the county’s energy expenses and projected savings. The county spends approximately $568,000 per year in energy costs, including water, and the project is expected to save about $190,000, according to an “investment grade audit” provided by Bill Clark, project manager at SmartWatt, and Greg Royer, an account executive with the firm. The modifications could result in savings of 23 percent in electricity, 12 percent in gas and 31 percent in water, Clark said at that time.

Legislators voted unanimously Tuesday to bond for the project, after District 1 Legislator Martin P. Kelly received assurance from County Executive Matthew Ossenfort that the project would not jeopardize the county’s bond rating.

Most of the project involves replacing outdated equipment, including:

  • Adding new controllers to improve the existing building automation system
  • New boilers at both the old and new county courthouses
  • A new furnace at the county’s workshop
  • A new cooling system at the county courthouse, replacing several window-mounted air conditioners
  • Replacing one of three water heaters in the Annex Building, retaining the other two as backups

SmartWatt officials said in November 2015 that the new furnaces would run at much higher efficiency that the current units.

The proposed financing for the project includes incentives from National Grid for the electrical work and reimbursement from the Unified Court System for work on the courthouses, according to SmartWatt officials.

John Becker

John Becker is both a Reporter and Consulting Editor for The Compass. He and his wife Pat operate Abbey Farms in Amsterdam NY.