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Published: Wednesday, 12/19/2012

Heating, cooling systems targeted as Seneca Co. seeks energy-upgrade bids


TIFFIN — Seneca County is moving forward with energy-efficiency upgrades intended to help control heating and cooling costs in county-owned buildings.

Earl Reid, operations manager for Palmer Conservation Consulting, obtained approval from the Seneca County commissioners Tuesday to ask for bids on installing a new heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system in the County Services Building as well as a control dashboard that will universally monitor energy use in a number of county buildings. Mr. Reid said if the bids are returned by the end of January, work on the project can begin early February.

Palmer Conservation initially contracted with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio to conduct an energy audit of county-owned buildings throughout the state. Seneca County Commissioner Jeff Wagner said the firm was separately hired in 2011 to manage needed energy-improvement projects in Seneca County.

“The entire project is about $1 million in improvements,” Mr. Wagner said. “It's stuff we could not put off.”

Palmer Conservation inspected the buildings owned by Seneca County and determined the County Services Building and adjacent Fifth-Third Bank building needed new roofs, Mr. Reid said. Instead of the entire roofs being replaced, however, they were repaired for $19,650. As a result, a full replacement will not be necessary for at least five years, he said, allowing the county time to amass funds for the estimated $250,000 cost for the two roofs and another $250,000 for the jail roof.

The roof on the county maintenance building is to be replaced in the spring.

“We did a total assessment of energy equipment in the buildings,” Mr. Reid said. “We looked at windows and roofs. We also looked at ways the energy was being consumed and how you could reduce that.”

Mr. Wagner said $190,000 of the $1 million price tag will come from community development block grant money. Commissioner Ben Nutter added that by making the buildings more energy-efficient, the county will be able to use money from energy savings to help pay for the improvements.

“This board also dedicates money to a fund every year for building maintenance,” he said. “We have a revenue source from property that we lease out. That money goes directly into that fund.”

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