Energy grant may help Clemson lower costs
December 12, 2010
— The Clemson city government is using a state grant to find ways to lower the cost of doing business at seven of its buildings.
The $7,000 grant, part of the Energy Technical Assistance Program, is administered by the Energy Office of the state Budget and Control Board.
The city obtained the grant with the help of GMK Associates, the Columbia-based firm the Energy Office uses to administer the program in this part of South Carolina.
GMK will perform “energy assessments” at the Morrison Annex, the Littlejohn Community Center, the Municipal Court Building, the Central Clemson Recreation Center, the Train Depot, the Clemson Police Department and the Parks and Recreation Office.
The 100-year-old Train Depot is the oldest building on the list, and the Municipal Court Building and the Morrison Annex are each 50 years old. The rest are between six and 15 years old.
The Morrison Annex is the largest building at 17,516 square feet. It houses the Clemson African-American Museum, the Clemson Child Development Center and the Upstate Center for the Arts.
Assistant city administrator Andy Blondeau said that while the Energy Office wasn’t able to provide money for assessments at all of Clemson’s government buildings, he was pleased with the seven GMK did find funding for, particularly the Morrison Annex.
“With the downturn in the economy, (nonprofit groups) are having a hard time raising money,” Blondeau said. “The best way we can help those tenants is to find ways they can keep their costs down, which is what these audits are all about.”
Blondeau said GMK would look at each building and make recommendations, which could vary range from installing more efficient light bulbs to beefing up insulation, upgrading heating and air systems to replacing windows and doors.
When the lists are completed, Blondeau said, officials will determine which improvements would provide “the most bang for the buck.”
“We’re really into utilizing technology to make our buildings as efficient as possible, but the most difficult part of that effort is determining exactly what the ‘payoff’ would be on those kinds of investments,” Blondeau said. “These assessments will tell us exactly which improvements would save the most energy and give us the best return on each investment.”
Once the audits are completed the city council will look at the recommendations and costs and decide how much money the city could devote to efficiency upgrades.
Blondeau said the city would be required to report to the Energy Office in two years with regard to any improvements undertaken as a result of the assessments.
(taken from IndependentMail.com