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Niskayuna’s electricity use displayed

Monitor installed in Town Hall, grants for green projects pursued

— Energy usage reductions at Niskayuna Town Hall won’t be hidden in electricity bills or coated wires, because a new monitor installed in the lobby allows anyone to see just how much it’s using.

Newly displayed data shows town officials have cut back on electricity usage at Town Hall through various energy reduction efforts. A monitor displaying a revolving array of graphs was recently installed in Town Hall and shows data on electricity usage. The system behind the monitor is part of a pilot program administered by the state. The screen is in the lobby of Town Hall to the right of the Board Room doors.

“What you see is that each year the amount of energy we are using is less and less,” said Richard Pollock, superintendent of engineering for the town.

In 2009, the town put in a system to control the air handling in the building, so if nobody is in Town Hall on weekends or at night the air circulation shuts down. Also two years ago, the town put in motion sensors for rooms and hallways to deactivate lights if nobody has walked down a hallway after a certain period of time.

In 2010, the town replaced the chiller unit for the air conditioning of the building with a more efficient model after it failed.

“Because of those projects you will see the bar graphs (showing energy usage per month and compared by year) going down, so going forward as we do more projects we are going to be able to see in real time what the energy savings are,” said Pollock. “In the past what we would have to do is take our monthly National Grid bills and dump that into the program, but going forward we have a meter on the electric panel box in the basement, so it’s actually measuring in real time energy being used.”

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