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Mesa County is one step closer to ensuring energy savings and fiscal responsibility by updating utilities in County facilities. During their July 2 public hearing, Commissioners approved a $11.5 million contract amendment with Schneider Electric to perform modernizations, capital improvements, and other equipment upgrades that will significantly increase the energy efficiency of County buildings. This work will be funded through a tax-exempt lease-purchase agreement, also approved at the hearing, for no more than $12 million to be paid over the course of 20 years, which will be paid for using savings on utility bills resulting from the upgrades.

These updates will:

  • Upgrade lighting at all sites, increase use of occupancy sensors, and retrofit facilities with LED tubes and bulbs to reduce energy consumption.
  • Address aging HVAC units by upgrading to more efficient systems, resulting in lower energy costs and improved comfort.
  • Implement innovative water conservation efforts and systems to save water and reduce utility costs.
  • Invest in solar photovoltaic systems, anticipating an annual production of around 600,000 kWh, expecting life cycle savings of approximately $1.5 million, and gaining an additional $400,000 in Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) over 20 years.
  • Decrease  Mesa County's annual electricity consumption by 30%, resulting in significant cost savings.
  • Reduce the County's carbon footprint by over 1,900 metric tons per year.

By completing these upgrades now, Mesa County can save money and immediately start seeing a significant reduction in energy consumption and utility bills.

The $11.5 million contract amendment, awarded in March 2023 to Schneider Electric, follows an Investment Grade Audit (IGA) that identified areas in the most need of efficiency and quality improvements. By upgrading equipment and proactively performing maintenance in these facilities, this project will improve building comfort, optimize lighting levels, extend the life of current equipment, maximize utility cost reduction, and combat rising energy costs. It will also mitigate future expenses by extending the lifespan of equipment and reducing maintenance demands. 

Projected energy savings over the duration of the 20-year lease agreement are $19.9 million. These savings are guaranteed by the state and the contractor and will be compensated for should the projection fall short.

This amendment extends the original contract with Schneider Electric for 16 months and includes an approximately 13-month construction phase of the energy improvement projects identified in the IGA. Construction is expected to begin in Oct. 2024.

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