County looks to trim energy costsA new program will attempt to cut 10 percent from Washington County's annual building energy costs.
A new program will attempt to cut 10 percent from Washington County's annual building energy costs.
The county will participate in a state pilot initiative to identify ways to conserve energy across more than a dozen government buildings. The work will include reviewing heating and cooling systems.
The program, an effort of state and federal government energy agencies, found ways to improve energy conservation in state-owned buildings, even new buildings, said Greg Wood, Washington County building services manager.
“There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to expect that here,” Wood said.
County commissioners voted Nov. 9 to take part in the first “screening” phase of the program. Screening will cost $30,121, but that is not a county expense.
If the county decides to continue beyond screening, the next phase could cost the county about $69,000. There may be state and federal funds available for any energy upgrades the county would pursue after the screening.
Washington County spends about $1.48 million in taxpayer funding annually on utility costs spread across 15 county buildings totaling 780,000 square feet. If the 10 percent savings is achieved, it could save about $148,000 a year, Wood said.
“This is pretty much a no-brainer,” Commissioner Gary Kriesel said.