City-wide energy efficiency program saves more than $700,000 over three years

The city of Rome, N.Y., and Johnson Controls expect financial benefits to total $8.5 million over 15 years.


The city of Rome, N.Y., and Johnson Controls announced the energy savings from a city-wide energy efficiency program total more than $700,000 since the project began.  In March 2008, the city selected Johnson Controls to help reduce its utility costs and carbon footprint through an energy conservation program.  By 2024, Rome is expected to realize more than $8.5 million in energy, operations and maintenance savings, and projected revenues as a result of this project.

Among the infrastructure improvements is the energy-efficient, diffused aeration system at the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).  The diffused aeration system increases the city of Rome's WWTP's capacity to handle additional sewage-based waste streams.  The city plans to maximize the potential for increasing waste treatment revenues by accepting septic loads from external sources.  The facility also will be used to support economic development opportunities as the plant capacity can now handle additional large commercial businesses in Rome.

"Our long-term growth depends on using energy as efficiently as possible at all of our facilities," Rome’s mayor James Brown said.  "It makes good economical and ecological sense.  Through our partnership with Johnson Controls, we've been able to lower costs and reduce energy consumption, while strengthening our ability to support the needs of current and future residents."

The energy efficiency upgrades are part of a 15-year performance contract between the city and Johnson Controls.  The improvements are funded through a performance contracting model, which enables the city to offset the costs of the improvements with energy and operational savings over time.  Johnson Controls recently announced its current public sector building efficiency projects in the United States are projected to save more than $4.7 billion in reduced energy, water and operational costs over the next 10 years.

Brown noted that the cost savings from the energy efficiency project will repay the capital investment over the contract's term without increasing the city's operating budget.  "These are tough economic times," Brown said.  "Instead of raising taxes to pay for the infrastructure improvements, the energy savings are paying for them."

Johnson Controls also installed variable-speed drives on low-lift pumps at the water filtration plant and implemented data-tracking management tools and lighting retrofits at various facilities. City Hall, City Yard, Rome Arts Center, the central fire station, police department offices and other municipal buildings have received energy upgrades.

Meanwhile, national and local organizations have taken notice: In 2009, Rome received the Environmental Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Assn. (Central New York chapter) and the Municipal Achievement Award from the New York Water Environment Assn.

Read the full press release here.

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