December 1, 2011
Grants fuel Preble Town Hall energy upgrades
$108,879 project to make building more efficient funded with nearly $70,000 in grants
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Energy efficiency renovations began Wednesday on the Preble Town Hall on Preble Road. The Town Hall also houses the Preble Post Office, Town Court and the Town Clerk’s Office.
PREBLE — Town Hall is getting an energy efficiency makeover at a significantly reduced price.
The Town Board voted Nov. 14 to approve an energy-saving renovation to the 105-year-old building.
After several grants are applied, the total project cost will drop from $108,879 to $39,852, saving taxpayers $69,027. Town Supervisor Jim Doring said the town’s share of the project will come from surplus funds.
The renovations will include replacing the boiler with two heat pumps, solar panels, insulation, replacement of original windows, change of light fixtures and furnace maintenance.
Solar panels will be used to power the heat pumps, Doring said.
One of the major incentives that will reduce the project’s total cost is a $25,000 grant arranged by state Sen. James Seward (R-Milford).
Preble received the grant from Seward in 2008.
Originally, the board wanted to use that money for the highway garage, but that project is on hold indefinitely, Doring said.
“We would have had to issue a bond and raise taxes,” he said. “The costs were just too much.”
Another $30,000 comes from a Climate Change Innovation Program Grant. Preble received the grant in October 2010 from the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board. The grant is part of a larger pilot program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
An additional $14,027 in grant money will come from National Grid and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority.
Communities around the country get grants to retrofit older municipal buildings and make them more energy efficient.
The first renovations began Wednesday, Doring said.
“National Grid came and removed the light bulbs and began replacing them with more efficient ones,” he said.
The Town Hall was built in 1906. During the winter months, it bleeds heat because of the older windows and a lack of insulation. A building is supposed to have three air flow changes per day, according to a presentation given to the board in October. An energy audit showed that the Town Hall has 12 air flow changes per day.
Town Board member Debra Brock said the project is an exciting event for the town because it will save money and protect the environment.
“It will result in energy savings for the town,” she said. “We don’t know the cost of things down the road and this will help us.”
The project is just the first step in a three-phase process, Brock said.
The second step is to measure the town’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the town.
The third step will be an ongoing outreach program to small businesses, farmers and residents on programs to help them save energy, Brock said.
Eight other local governments in Central New York are participating in the pilot program, including the city of Cortland.
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