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NYPA Assists Auburn With Use of Clean Renewable Energy Source to Heat and Cool Municipal Buildings

Brian Warner

December 17, 2007


AUBURN—Mayor Timothy C. Lattimore, City of Auburn,  and Roger B. Kelley, president and chief executive officer, New York Power Authority (NYPA), today announced completion of a comprehensive $3.9 million project that includes a geothermal heating and cooling system, a computerized energy-management network and a variety of energy-efficiency upgrades at 13 city-owned facilities.  The project was designed, implemented and installed under the supervision of NYPA’s Energy Services and Technology unit.

 “With the completion of this new geothermal system at the public safety building—which houses our fire and police departments—we have taken an important step closer to energy independence from foreign oil. In the end, we will be judged by how we solve our energy problems,” said Mayor Lattimore.

The project will yield annual taxpayer savings of $240,000 on Auburn’s municipal electric bills and building systems maintenance costs.  Another energy cost savings for Auburn taxpayers’ amounts to over $33,500 a year from reduced use of natural gas and heating oil. There will also be energy savings of 1.4 million kilowatt hours, which is enough electricity to serve about 120 homes for a year. 

 “This significant project allowed the City of Auburn to make important energy efficiency improvements at city-owned facilities that will not only help to preserve the environment but also represent a considerable savings for Auburn’s property taxpayers.  This is truly a win-win for Auburn and the entire region,” said Senator Michael Nozzolio.  “This is one of the initiatives that the Auburn Blueprint Task Force has supported and I am very pleased that the City of Auburn is leading the way in using technological advances to provide needed services to their residents in a more efficient manner.”

“This multifaceted energy services project was driven by Auburn’s desire to significantly lower the energy use of its public facilities, while helping to reduce power plant emissions,” said Kelley. “The new geothermal system, when combined with a range of energy-efficiency improvements, will help protect the local environment for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike.”

Geothermal System

Auburn City Hall and its police and fire headquarters are now heated and cooled with a geothermal system, a clean renewable energy resource that captures the ambient ground temperature stored within the Earth for heating and cooling.  The ground temperature here typically ranges from between 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F) to 70 degrees F.  The system consists of several deep wells with specially designed piping that connects to the building’s new pump heating and cooling system.

The system is filled with a glycol solution (a combination of water and antifreeze) and uses a series of electrical pumps to circulate the liquid through the building’s new heating and cooling system.  During the cold months, the glycol captures heat energy from the soil and transfers it to the interior areas through the heating and cooling system.

During the warm months, the system “reverses” into cooling mode with the glycol capturing the cool energy from the soil and is circulating it through the heating and cooling system for transfer to the interior areas.

Computerized Energy Management System

The climate controls for eight of Auburn’s municipal buildings will now be managed by a new computerized energy management system to maximize energy efficiency and savings.  In addition to City Hall, and the police and fire headquarters, the other buildings served by this system are the Genesee Street Municipal Parking Garage, the Public Works Garage Building, the Upper and Lower Pumping Stations, the Water Filtration Plant, and the Waste Water Collection and Treatment Plant.

 Energy-Efficient Lighting

Another focus of the overall project for the municipal buildings were lighting improvements.  Occupancy/motion sensors that automatically turn off lights were installed in rooms not in constant use.  Standard fluorescent fixtures were upgraded with energy-efficient T-8 lamps and exit signs were outfitted with low-watt light emitting diodes (LED).  Incandescent light fixtures were retrofitted with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.

At the Genesee Street Municipal Parking Garage and the Public Works Garage Building, newly installed photocells and timer-controlled light fixtures provide light for improved safety. 

At Casey Park Ice Skating Rink, a wide range of lighting improvements feature motion sensors, new compact fluorescent lamps, LED exit fixtures and a lighting control panel.

High-Efficiency Pumps for Water Facilities

In addition to lighting upgrades Auburn’s Water Filtration Plant and Waste Water Collection and Treatment Plant benefited from other efficiency measures.  Where appropriate, new variable speed drives were installed to increase the efficiency of numerous pumps. The filtration plant received a natural gas heating system for its chemical treatment and storage building.  And air capacity controls were installed on existing aeration blowers at the wastewater facility.

The Power Authority has also undertaken energy-efficiency initiatives and other clean energy projects for numerous local governments at thousands of public facilities around the state. Statewide, NYPA energy services efforts, since they began in the late 1980s, have lowered electricity use by more than 202,000 kilowatts or enough power to meet the requirements of about 155,000 homes.  This has also reduced the need for more than 2 million barrels of oil and eliminated nearly 825,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

 About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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