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Medina village could tackle $2 million in energy-savings projects

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2014 at 12:00 am

MEDINA – Village officials could replace street lights with energy-efficient bulbs, swap out aging water meters, and install new HVAC systems in municipal buildings, about $2 million worth of projects that would more than pay for themselves in reduced energy costs.

That was the message from Wendel Energy in Buffalo. Company representatives discussed a series of projects with the Village Board on Monday.

The most costly initiative would be replacing about 2,200 water meters with new automatic read units. The new meters wouldn’t need a dedicated DPW worker to take readings. The meters, because they are new, would also give a much more accurate recording of water being used by residents and businesses, Gerald Summe of Wendel told the Village Board.

Water meters lose their effectiveness with each passing year, tracking less and less water, he said. Wendel is estimating the village would gain $159,000 in annual water revenues through more accurate meters. That revenue could be used to pay for the new meters, which would cost about $1.2 million.

That added revenue doesn’t include the benefit of freeing up the DPW worker who currently reads the meters. That employee could be assigned to other duties, Mayor Andrew Meier said.

Wendel also suggested the village replace high-intensity street lights with LED units that use far less power. Replacing the street lights would cost an estimated $425,000.

The village should also upgrade HVAC units in municipal buildings, Wendel said. The new street lights and HVAC systems would reduce the village’s energy costs by about $65,000 a year, said Keith Krug, a project manager with Wendel.

The village would likely receive NYSERDA grants to help with the energy-savings projects, he said.

Wendel projected the village would gain about $1 million in 15 years through the projects through increased water revenues and reduced energy bills. Over 25 years, Medina would see a $3.8 million net benefit, the company said.

Krug said the village should have an energy audit done of its buildings to identify the most pressing projects and ones that would yield the best return on investment. He estimated it would cost $20,000 to $30,000 for the audit, with NYSERDA helping to cover those costs.

Meier and the Village Board said they want to discuss the project further, and see a final proposal from Wendel.

“It sounds like it makes a lot of sense and holds a lot of promise,” Meier said at Monday’s meeting.

Wendel worked with Orleans County on about $1.5 million of energy-savings projects in 2012 and 2013, including about $1 million in work at the county jail.