Ogdensburg hears from company on energy savings plan

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OGDENSBURG — Representatives of a company that specializes in finding energy efficiencies for municipalities have told city officials that Ogdensburg could save tens of thousands of dollars annually by improving the energy efficiency in some buildings and by modernizing street lights.

SmartWatt, an energy optimization firm headquartered in Saratoga, has completed energy efficiency projects across the state, including in Fulton, Montgomery and Franklin counties.

In Ogdensburg’s case the company is looking at two different programs to save energy and money. One involves improving efficiency at municipal buildings like the city police department by replacing the outdated hot water boiler system with a new high-efficiency condensing style boiler with a 96 percent efficiency rating. Other savings could be found by replacing existing steam traps and radiator control valves in the City Hall building.

At the water filtration plant the company also proposes a new gas fired system to replace the old electric hot water system now in place.

A separate project being proposed by the company would involve replacing approximately 1,000 street lights in the city with new energy efficient LED bulbs. The company also proposes eliminating costly maintenance fees paid to National Grid by buying back the lighting system from the company.

The project investment for the street lighting portion of the plan made by SmartWatt would be approximately $664,000, and the cost to “buy back” the system from National Grid would be approximately $595,000 for a total of approximately $1.2 million.

By not paying National Grid for maintenance and with found energy savings from the better system, the company said total annual cost savings will be approximately $148,000, according to SmartWatt officials.

The allure of such a deal for the city, is that SmartWatt would pay for the improvements and upgrades and the city would pay the company back with money derived from the energy savings.

The end result, according to the company, is that the municipality will get needed energy upgrades, will save money, and the investment and improvements will not use any local tax dollars.

Projects are typically paid back over a 10- to 15-year period, according to officials. Ogdensburg is looking at a nine- to 10-year-contract term at a little over 3 percent interest.

If Ogdensburg City Council opts for the deal, the upgrades could be completed in as little as four months, according to the company.

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