By Kayleigh Rahn
The Douglas County Board, during its meeting Wednesday, April 18, approved a proposal that will allow SmartWatt to perform a free energy audit of the county’s facilities.
SmartWatt is a regional energy optimization company that focuses on enhancing facilities for optimal financial savings, energy savings and environments, according to its website.
County Board Chairman Don Munson said the company will complete the energy audit, which will be done at no expense, and return to the board with a report of their findings. From the report, the board members will be able to select which upgrades would work best for the county.
“We can pick or choose which ever component they show will help us save energy costs, whether it be changing the light bulbs or putting in some solar panels,” Munson said. “The big thing that sways me is that they guarantee that our costs of doing any changes will not exceed the recouping savings that we will get from resolving those issues.”
County Engineer Jim Crane recommended the process after witnessing improvements completed by a similar company at Arcola schools.
“It at least looks like something we want to take a look at,” Munson said. “It’s proven to be a money-saving move for the Arcola school district and has enabled them to do some things that they probably, cost wise, wouldn’t have been able to.”
“It has some fail-safes in it and it’s all for energy savings,” Crane said.
The proposed upgrades could include structure, water, fuel, and power usage that would result in cost savings for the county at no cost, according to minutes form the April 4 building and grounds committee meeting.
“Moving forward, the county would select the pieces of the proposal we want to participate in and SmartWatt would secure, essentially, a lease-purchase agreement with the county that would guarantee that the yearly savings would pay for the proposed upgrades or SmartWatt would pay the difference to the county,” the notes said.
“It’s almost no cost,” Board Member Michael Carroll added. “It seems like almost a no brainer.”
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, May 9 edition of The Tuscola Journal.