Utility Incentives Help Pulaski County Perform Energy Upgrades

  March 7, 2018

By Ryan Berlin

For maintenance and engineering managers who work in commercial and institutional facilities were funds for renovations are tough to come by, utility incentives are a good source to find the funds needed to become more green and energy efficient.

Pulaski County buildings in Arkansas are midway through a slow-moving metamorphosis to become more environmentally friendly, which is predicted to reap millions of dollars in savings when complete, according to an article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The project -- upgrading lighting, heating and air and plumbing fixtures at county facilities -- arose from a state law, Act 554 of 2013.

Act 554 created the Arkansas Energy Performance Contracting program, overseen by the state energy office.

The program allows state agencies and institutions and, starting in 2015 counties and municipalities, to find ways to pay for environmental upgrades they might not have otherwise been able to afford by considering the eventual savings that will come through lower energy costs.

The program offers a "budget-neutral" means to make those upgrades, meaning the savings are predicted to pay for the initial cost over time.

Pulaski County was the first county to participate, said Kelly Robinson, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Since its inception, 13 projects have been completed, and many more are in various stages of development, Robinson said.

In February 2016, Pulaski County awarded a contract to Entegrity, a sustainability and energy services company, to perform an audit of county facilities.

The audit was "really a deep dive into the way they're using their energy," said Rob Guthrie, director of business development at Entegrity.

The company recommended the county convert 10,000 existing light fixtures to LED lighting, which "everybody is doing these days because it's just a slam dunk, financially," Guthrie said.

About 1,000 plumbing fixtures needed to be upgraded, which would cut county water and sewer costs by a quarter, Entegrity predicted.

Also, about 40 percent of the current heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units needed to be replaced. A slew of other upgrades are needed at the adult and juvenile jail complex.

The upgrades were expected to save $8 million for the county over the financing term of 15 years, a news release said.

This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.


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