City Council held a special Finance Committee meeting where a presentation was delivered on recommendations of a recent energy audit. Two options were given for their consideration.
Ultimately, the city is looking to reduce operating costs through energy conservation improvement projects. “We’re always looking to reduce our energy costs,” said Mayor Bob Stefanik. At a Mayors and Managers meeting earlier this year, Stefanik learned about an opportunity through a presentation that was made by Leopardo Companies, Incorporated. The company offered a free energy audit, in which the city participated, looking at all city buildings and focused on things such as lighting and heating unit efficiency.
With the results of the initial audit, the city then advertised for companies that would be interested in submitting a proposal to form a more extensive audit and report, which include the implementation of the energy conservation measures through the following goals and objectives:
“1. Reduce operating costs to reinvest in deferred maintenance areas;
2. Improve environmental conditions for employees and visitors to the facilities;
3. Improve maintenance and operation of the facilities;
4. Provide better working conditions in the identified facilities;
5. Preserve capital funds for other requirements.”
According to the request for proposal, the company must provide “comprehensive design-build construction, building management and energy services, including, but not limited to, the performance of investment grade energy audits, the program design by in-house professional engineers, selection of energy conservation measures, and installation of energy efficient systems, ongoing support and training services, assistance in securing financing for the transaction, and accountability for system performance, measurement and verification, and cost of operations savings.”
A panel of four, including North Royalton Finance Director, Eric Dean, and Community Development Director, Tom Jordan, reviewed and scored the proposals and then submitted them to Council. Last November, City Council selected Chicago based Leopardo Companies, Incorporated to prepare an energy conservation report for the city. According to its website, “ Leopardo is a recognized leader in sustainable building practices with extensive project experience spanning all Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification levels.”
The city facilities that were included in the audit are City Hall, the Police Station, City Green, Fire Station #1 and #2, Service Center, Animal Control, Cemetery Maintenance Building, Parks Maintenance Building, and Street/Traffic Lights. The focus of the recommendations included items such as smart technology, heating/cooling, roofing, lighting and the envelope, which is the overall energy efficiency of each building, which could include items such as windows.
The first option had a total cost of $3,307,667. The second option, which covered less items, would be $2,663,227. The items that were recommended have a useful life of 20 years or more. The annual cost savings the city would reap would total about $241,972 for the 20-year period. According to Leopardo officials, these would be guaranteed savings to the city. Dean said that the cost of the improvements will be realized through the energy savings down the road.
Council also discussed different financing options, such as bonds or direct bank purchase and the terms of those options. Matthew Stuczynski, Municipal Advisor at MAS Financial Advisory Services LLC, answered questions in that regard. He has served as a financial advisor the city for many years.
Council will be moving forward with option 1. The next step is two pieces of legislation for Council to vote upon. They would authorize the Mayor to enter into agreements with Leopardo and another firm that would address the financing of the project. That legislation is expected to be introduced this month.
Contributing Writer