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Audit results suggest savings

Seven months ago, the Saratoga Springs City Council authorized a comprehensive energy audit with three objectives in mind: reduce energy costs, reduce operating and main-tenance costs and spend no money doing so. Chris Kalwara of Johnson Controls recently presented the findings of that audit to the council.

Kalwara said that by investing in building infrastructure improvements totaling $1.389 million, the city could realize an annual savings of more than $100,000, as well as reap environmental benefits.

The scope of the project would be great, but not too invasive, said Kalwara. Most of the city's municipal buildings would need lighting retrofits, boiler controllers and weatherization improvements.

The Vernon Street ice rink, Kalwara said, would need a chiller replacement, energy management systems, power conditioning and an infrared ice temperature control system. In the Canfield Casino, the 30-year-old boiler would have to be replaced, but Kalwara said none of the work would have an impact on the historic nature of any of the buildings.

Johnson Controls made a number of assumptions in projecting the finances of the project, such as financing over 15 years, at a 4 percent interest rate on funding needed for the energy improvements, and that the city would take advantage of the interest rate buy down that New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYRSERDA) offers.

With all of the assumptions, they developed a blended interest rate of 2 percent. They also assumed a 3 percent energy escalation rate. The estimated savings over 15 years at $106,450 with $1.4 million of equipment improvements.

Kalwara touted the environmental benefits as well. The environmental savings are equal to 610,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 2,900 thousand cubic feet of natural gas, he said. Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels would be reduced considerably.

The environmental savings would be equal to planting 593,379 trees, or eliminating 29,451,594 miles driven by cars, according to Kalwara.

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