County takes first step toward reducing its energy costs

CENTREVILLE — The St. Joseph County board of commissioners voted in favor of proceeding with a preliminary assessment of its facilities’ energy usage to identify opportunities to reduce overall energy costs.
A memorandum of understanding was approved that allows ABM Industries to conduct a 30,000 square-foot overview of the facilities’ energy usage. “For starters,” ABM will look at the Historic Courthouse and Jail, Finance Director Ryan Post said. Being a municipality, St. Joseph County will receive the initial assessment free-of-charge.
“Multiple cities, schools, hospitals, and airports around the United States have used this opportunity to enhance their capital needs and significantly reduce millions of dollars of operational costs,” Post said.
Thomas Hogan of ABM Industries said the next step would be to conduct a “Capital Vitality Program,” and recommend areas of improvements to the board of commissioners. From there, the board could decide to proceed with the recommended upgrades and began to negotiate a contract.
“It’s guaranteed that the savings will pay for themselves. That means I get to guarantee you that the savings will pay for your improvements. If not, I have to make up the difference,” Hogan said.
Hogan and ABM Industries will evaluate years’ worth of utility bills, in order to ensure that the savings will match the cost of improvements.
“After the upgrades are done, the clock starts, the savings build up in the bucket, and you pay us all of those savings from the bucket,” Hogan said.
Hogan added that the county seems to have a lot of “aging equipment,” with some equipment that may fail within five to nine years.
In other business he commission…
•Approved the budget for the County Child Care Fund in the amount of $1,461,305.
•Permitted an application for State Veteran’s Fund grants, which would support increasing the Veterans Service Officer’s approved hours form 20 to 30.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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