With nearly $100,000 in grant money, and a near-equivalent amount in matching funds, the city of
Auburn Hills will be making its buildings more energy-efficient.
city was among communities that received a Michigan Energy Efficiency
and Conservation Block Grant for energy efficiency projects, sourced from federal
stimulus funding awarded by the Bureau of Energy Systems. For Auburn
Hills, that means new electrical meters, new lighting, an energy audit,
and an energy system that can be controlled remotely.
Dan Brisson, the city's manager of facilities and roads, explains that the funds will be used on four phases, the first being lighting upgrades.
Afterwards, the city will work on upgrading its energy-management
system, for which an employee can log on via the Internet and view and
control temperatures and occupancy schedules from there. "It's kind of a
programmable therm for home, but with a broader scope," Brisson says.
administration building, for example, is currently made up of 17
different heating and cooling zones, so one side of the building could
be cool enough for heat while the other side is warm enough for the A/C.
Plus, if someone forgets to dial back the heat or A/C before leaving
for the day, that can be rectified from a computer.
Also to be
installed are individual electric meters on six of the city's
facilities, which are currently connected to one meter. This will also
help measure how efficient each of the buildings are, explains city
water resources coordinator Shawn Keenan.
"That's going to help
us better measure our energy use for each of those buildings, as it
works toward achieving energy efficiency goals the city has," he says.
The funds will also be used for a more comprehensive audit on the city's community center.
state funding received for the project was $97,553, with the city
matching almost as much. But Keenan estimated a savings of at least
$9,556 each year, as well as a reduction of 106,181 kilowatts and 90
tons of carbon dioxide annually.
"A lot of this work was planned
before the grant, and the grant is allowing us to do more, more
quickly," Keenan says. "We share all of our ideas to come up with good
solutions that are really sustainable."
Brisson hopes the
projects will be nearly wrapped up by the time temperatures start to
drop, so the city can take advantage of the new heating technologies.
Not only are the improvements good for the Earth, but they make good
business sense, too, he says.
"We have utility bills just like
the homeowner," he says. "We don't want to pay more for electricity if
we can make improvements. Anything we can do that makes economic sense
to reduce energy consumption and take a green initiative, we're going to
try to do."
Sources: Shawn Keenan, water resources coordinator and Dan Brisson, manager of facilities and roads, city of Auburn Hills
Writer: Kristin Lukowski
Downtown Birmingham's Pierce Street
parking garage will soon have a smoother ride up to your car, and be
better lit while doing so.
The city plans to install LED lights
in the structure's 227 fixtures, replacing old high-pressure sodium
bulbs, for a cost of $350,000; $125,000 of that will be federal stimulus
Brendan Cousino, assistant city engineer for Birmingham,
says he received the final design last week for review, but expects the
contract to go out for bid within the next three weeks or so. "The
lighting is roughly 25 years old. It's outdated, and we're repairing
lights on a regular basis."
He says replacing lights will not
only improve the garage's energy savings, but the quality of light in
the garage as well. LED lights use a fraction of the electricity of
normal bulbs, and they also last several years longer than normal street
lights. The city of Birmingham expects to save $18,000 in electricity
annually, plus thousands more dollars in maintenance costs.
in the Pierce Street parking structure, plans are to replace the
elevators this coming summer, first with the elevator at the Brown
Street entrance, scheduled to close Oct. 25, and then on the Pierce
Street side, scheduled to close in January. The project will run just
under $410,000; the elevators currently in place are original to the
early 1960s building.
"It's just time," Cousino says. "They've
reached the end of their service life."
In another parking
structure, the North Old Woodward parking deck, resealing the exterior
has been completed, and very smoothly, too, Cousino says, coming in on
time and budget. The city added some other work to that job, at the
Chester Street parking structure, including replacing some stairs and
decking worn down by regular use, for an additional $77,000 or
thereabouts to the original $499,000.
And although parking
structure maintenance may seem low on the priority list, the interior of
a structure is one of the first things a visitor to Birmingham sees,
after all. "We hope to maintain a high level of customer service here,"
Cousino says. "Overall, our goal is to extend the life of these
structures as much as possible, and replace as much equipment as
possible before it fails."
Source: Brendan Cousino, assistant
city engineer for Birmingham
Writer: Kristin Lukowski