The Athens County Commission discusses various items on Thursday’s agenda

Athens County Commissioners Hoping To Move Energy Efficiency Project Forward On Agreeable Terms

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, OH – Before moving forward with an energy efficiency project for Athens County buildings, the Board of County Commissioners is requesting a company providing initial engineering services change some language in their agreement.

Commission President Lenny Eliason said during Thursday morning meeting that Johnson Controls would need to assure if the county chose to only take on one or more recommended projects rather than the entire list, they would not be on the hook for the $60,000 cost of services.

“They have presented that we can implement only part of it and we want to make sure that the agreement reflects that.”

Representatives from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based technology and industrial company told the commissioners when they complete the agreed up evaluation, the projects they present will be à la carte rather than a whole package.

Zachary Thomas, an account executive with the company, told Eliason they would be able to work with the county’s legal representation to change the verbiage of the agreement and that the fee is in place only if the county selects none of the proposed projects.

The company, which was selected to undertake the project through a bidding process, makes its money mostly in the cost-savings from a client undertaking suggested projects.

“We’re not trying to make a ton of money off of the county because we know this is the public sector,” Thomas said. “We’re doing open book-type of pricing and we told them upfront this is what our engineering cost is going to be, and its, if not the same, less than what our competitors will show.”

Johnson Controls estimates the county may be able to spend $80,000 a year on energy costs if their suggested projects are undertaken. However, it will depend on what the engineers find in their initial evaluation of around 20 county buildings.

Some projects Thomas predicted they will probably come forward with included utilizing solar power, using energy efficient lighting and installing more efficient heating and cooling systems.

The initial study cannot get underway until the initial agreement, which was tabled Thursday until the language is changed and agreed up, is signed.

From that point, Thomas estimates they will be able to create a list of projects within a matter of two months.

“We know that they want some things taken care of as soon as possible and we totally understand,” he said. “We’re nimble enough of as a company that we can, for the size of the county which is a nice sized county, we can get a quick turnaround of two months, or less than two months.”

The project as a whole originates from state-sanctioned incentives for making county government buildings more energy efficient in allowing time to pay off loaned money put toward the cause.

However, Eliason said he is being caution with making decisions on what exactly to undertake, wanting to see the county’s finances to remain stable during the endeavor.

“You’ve got to be fiscally responsible while you’re becoming energy efficient.”

He estimates the two parties can reach agreeable terms in two weeks, due to the approaching July 4 holiday, meaning the initial estimates would be completed in August if the agreement is signed.