Council saves money by saving energy

The move allows the city to replace some older equipment and make other upgrades
By Pat Ratliff | Mar 28, 2013

The City of Edmonds will soon have dramatically lower power bills, and certain buildings around town will be noticeably more comfortable, after City Council voted to authorize Mayor Dave Earling to sign an Energy Savings Contract (ESCO III) with the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services.

The move allows the city to replace some older equipment and make other upgrades that will, over time, save the city money, as well as headaches.

Among those items slated for replacement is the boiler at Yost Pool. The 50-year-old boiler is out of date, inefficient, and often needs parts to be built, as they are no longer made.

Another replacement will be five heating units on top of the Edmonds Senior Center building. Those units have a history of breaking and, according to Farrell Flemming, executive director of the center, have resulted in a number of days of temperatures in the 50’s inside parts of the building.

“The seniors, in this case, would be in favor of a ‘forced retirement’ of those units,” Flemming said.

This will be the third round of energy efficiency upgrades for general city facilities.

The total maximum cost of the project is $758,683, according to Public Works Director Phil Williams. Part of that cost is covered by a grant from Washington State Department of Commerce for $187,556 and a $60,376 grand from PUD.

Williams noted that the Yost Pool boiler and heating units are already old and needing replacement regardless of the Energy Savings Contract.

“Both projects have to be done anyway,” he said. “They have outlived their life expectancy.”

Other items on the list of projects include converting the decorative streetlights downtown to LED and converting the city parking lots to LED.

Williams said that besides the power savings with LED, the bulbs last longer, so there is less maintenance over time.

Besides grants, the contract allows for a low-cost loan of funds for only 2 percent interest.

Earlier, similar projects included work on the Edmonds Library, which cut electrical usage nearly 50 percent when comparing 2004 data with its post-project consumption in 2006.

Part of the funds needed for the projects have already been set aside, including $120,000 for the Yost Pool replacement, $74,331 for projects related to Old Public Works, Public Works and the Waste Water Treatment Plant. These are paid for by city utilities.

Total cash contribution from the General Fund is $27,819.

The council vote was unanimous in favor of the contract.

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