Energy audit could save $1.3 million

Through energy audits and energy-reducing measures, Chevron Energy Solutions believes Mesa County could realize a savings of as much as $1.3 million.

In a report presented to County Administrator Jon Peacock Tuesday, Chevron Business Development Manager Matthew Rush said the county could achieve $84,000 in savings during the first year of the program, which equates to a 9 percent savings in the county’s energy bill. If all of Chevron’s ideas were implemented, the county could reduce its environmental footprint each year by 2.3 million pounds of greenhouse gases. The annual environmental impact is similar to planting 329 acres of trees or taking 159 cars off the road, Rush said.

The cost for the energy audit and to implement the energy-reducing measures is $1.3 million, which is equivalent to the energy savings Chevron estimates the county would realize over the next 15 years. The cost to implement the changes would come entirely from the energy savings realized, Rush said.

Chevron found potential energy savings in 18 of the 23 county facilities it examined. Much of the savings would come from using energy-efficient lighting, adjusting work schedules and not heating or cooling unused rooms.

Other ideas are more unconventional.

Chevron proposes installing a “water side economizer” at the Mesa County Justice Center. It would provide free cooling on summer mornings and evenings by using evaporating water.

The company also proposes using an ozone-based laundry system at the jail. The system is already in use in Arapahoe, Douglas and Boulder counties. It reduces the amount of water and detergent needed in laundry.

Rush estimates it will take nine months to a year to institute all the ideas.

When Chevron began its energy audit, it estimated it would find ways to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent. In the end it was only able to find 9 percent.

“We anticipated things running a lot worse than they are,” Rush said. “It’s a tight-running ship.”

“Right now, with what I am seeing, I can’t see a downside,” Peacock said.


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