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September 28, 2012

 

Preble cuts energy use

Town Hall equipped with solar panels, new heating system

Hall

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
The south side of the Preble Town Hall now has a roof covered with solar panels. The town recently completed a $140,000 project to make the building more energy efficient, saving the town about $7,400 in energy costs per year,

By NEIL BENJAMIN JR.
Staff Reporter
nbenjamin@cortlandstandardnews.net

PREBLE — The Town Hall has taken a big step toward being a completely sustainable building after solar panels were installed, windows were replaced and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system put in place, a project that finished last week.
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Town Hall at 1968 Preble Road for what is known as the Preble Town Hall Energy Retrofit Project.
State Sen. Jim Seward (R-Milford), who arranged $25,000 from the state Legislature for the project, plans to attend.
The project, which cost a total of $140,000 according to Town Supervisor Jim Doring, relied heavily on $71,000 in state and federal grants. Doring said the project will have paid for itself in eight years. Beyond those years, the building will actually be making money for the town.
“The Preble Town Board is very excited that this project has happened,” Doring said. “This is going to enhance the efficiency of the building and the savings and benefits will be reaped for years to come.”
The project almost did not happen due to a lack of funds. Including grants and what Preble had in the bank, the town was still $25,000 short of what it needed for this project to be feasible, Doring said. Seward helped secure the final grant.
In addition to the funding arranged by Seward, money came from a $30,000 grant from the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, $13,680 and $1,062 grants from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for the solar system and the electric heat pump system, and a $934 rebate from National Grid. The rest of the money came from the town’s funds.
The upgrades will save the town about $7,400 in energy costs per year, Doring said.
The work happened in three phases.
First, the entire building was fitted with new, energy efficient windows as well as an added layer of insulation. The building was “enveloped,” as Doring called it, which means the roof and basements were sealed, as well as any problem areas found during inspection.
The second phase was installing the HVAC system with three heat pumps. The system essentially sucks the heat out of the outside air and pumps it into the building for use during the cold months.
“The temperature could be 30 degrees (outside) and it will still find the heat source,” Doring said.
The third phase, the most important according to Doring, was installation of photovoltaic cells, or solar panels.
The panels take in ultraviolet rays from the sun and store them as energy. The panels have a 20-year guarantee on them, something Doring said was a large factor in the decision to move forward with the project. He said maintenance costs will be very low.
In turn, the sun’s energy is turned into electricity that powers the HVAC and everything electronic. Doring said the building no longer uses fuel oil in any way.
“This is our way of being self-sustaining and efficient,” Doring said.
The total emissions reduction for the project is estimated to be 19.53 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
More information, including daily energy usage updates, can be found at preble-ny.org.
All the lighting in the building was replaced with longer-lasting florescent bulbs.
The structure was built in 1906 as a two-room schoolhouse. It became the Preble Town Hall in the early 1970s, said Deputy Supervisor Peter Knapp.
Preble is a member of the Central New York Climate Change Innovation Program.

 

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