The city of Rome, NY, and Johnson Controls has announced the energy savings from a citywide energy efficiency programme totalled more than $700 000 since the project began.
In March 2008, the city selected Johnson Controls, a global leader in making public and private buildings more energy efficient, to help reduce its utility costs and carbon footprint through an energy conservation programme.
By 2024, Rome is expected to realise 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 waste water treatment plant (WWTP).
The diffused aeration system increases the city of Rome's WWTP's capacity to handle additional sewage-based waste streams.
Through this increased capacity the city plans to maximise 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," says Mayor James Brown.
"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.
"Energy efficiency has never been more important, especially in communities like Rome," says Bruno Biasiotta, VP and GM, Energy Solutions Americas, Johnson Controls.
"Through the performance contract and other financing methods, we were able to bring the finest in waste water treatment plant technology to the city, while generating significant energy savings."
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 – all designed to improve energy efficiency while saving taxpayer dollars.
Brown notes 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. Instead of raising taxes to pay for the infrastructure improvements, the energy savings are paying for them."
City Hall, City Yard, Rome Arts Centre, the central fire station, police department offices and other municipal buildings have received energy upgrades.
National and local organisations have taken notice. In 2009, Rome received the Environmental Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association (Central New York chapter) and the Municipal Achievement Award from the New York Water Environment Association.