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Martin officials request energy improvement audit

Martin officials request energy improvement audit
Special to The Press
Martin’s board of mayor and aldermen asked for an audit of the city’s energy production during its informal meeting Tuesday.
The audit request came after a presentation by Ameresco, a company that works with organizations on energy improvement projects. Stewart Shunk gave the presentation to the board while Ben Buckner and Miles Mennell assisted with questions and clarifications.
Shunk discussed the preliminary findings for the City of Martin to participate in the energy improvement projects.
According to Ameresco, the city could actually have a net cash flow of $4,614 after the first year of improvements. The total annual cost after year one is estimated at $88,776 and the total annual estimated savings is $93,389.
After 10 years, the net annual cash flow would total $52,889. The total cost over 10 years is $1,017,713, while the total savings is $1,070,602.
According to Shunk and Mennell, if the savings obligations are not met each year, Ameresco will pay the difference. Anything that is made over the projected savings obligations would go back to the City of Martin.
“I think they have found a niche market to make money and save the city money,” alderman Randy Edwards said after the presentation. “That’s the bottom line.”
There were many potential projects discussed during the presentation.
Some wastewater systems opportunities include pump controls, brush aerator modifications and variable frequency drive installation and programming. Shunk also discussed the investigation of dissolved oxygen levels and automation of sampling procedures. According to Buckner, Ameresco would hire an environmental engineer to help with the process and the dissolved oxygen levels should be around one to two parts per million.
“We’re not going to do anything that the city and employees of the city aren’t comfortable with,” Buckner said. “At your plant, there’s a lot of things we can do better.”
Some of the lighting opportunities include fluorescent lighting retrofits and replacements. This might include retrofitting fixtures with F28 T8 lamps and high-efficiency electron ballasts, as well as replacing metal halide high bay lighting with high bay fluorescent fixtures.
Other possible lighting savings could occur by replacing incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, replacing current exit signs with LED exit signs and replacing HID exterior lighting with induction or LED lighting. The TVA rebate estimate is about $38,000.
The current incandescent traffic signals could be replaced with newer, LED technology retrofits.
Some of the control opportunities include installing occupancy-based thermostats. However, 24-7 agencies such as the police department would be excluded.
Older HVAC units would also be replaced with newer units and existing exterior ductwork may need to be repaired.
Ameresco decided the feasibility of implementing a methane gas harvesting system at the landfill internally was inadequate. The City of Martin’s Type 1 Landfill was closed in 1994 with 524,000 tons in place over 50 acres and Type 3 closed in 2011 to the public and is about five acres.
So, Ameresco presented a few other opportunities for the landfill. One suggestion was for the implementation of a 50kW solar farm that would be visible from Highway 43 and Frontage Road. The area could also be converted to a dog park.
According to Mennell, if the city decided to install a solar farm, TVA would actually purchase the power back from Martin. Then, the City of Martin would essentially turn around and purchase power from TVA at a lower cost.
“If the City of Martin ever wanted to do solar power, now would be a good time,” Buckner said.
Ameresco has also worked on other projects with various entities, including the government for the City of Knoxville and Henry, Madison and Haywood counties.
The University of Kentucky and Austin Peay State University have also been customers.
Alderman David Belote asked about the bidding process. According to Buckner, Ameresco would basically serve as the project manager and would handle all of the bids, designs and anything else that is needed.
Some of the capital financing alternatives include bonds, capital outlay notes, lease purchase agreements and grants and incentives. Guaranteed savings could also be used as a funding source.
After the audit has been conducted, another presentation would be made to the board regarding the results. If the board chooses, from there they would sign the contracts and begin construction.
Other major items during the meeting included the discussion of a grant contract for $32,878.60. The grant would pay for overtime with police officers who are put out in different areas of the city to help control crime.
The regular Martin board of mayor and aldermen meeting will be Monday at 5:15 p.m. in the city courtroom. Published in The WCP 10.4.12