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Another Door Opens: Marion Invests in Energy Efficiency

July 30, 2010 - 3:51pm


City Hall in Marion, Ohio, was built in the middle of the 1979 energy crisis. Even so, when architects devised the three-story building, sustainability was not top of mind.

"None of the offices in the building have any windows," said Mayor Scott Schertzer. "The front doors are made of glass, but they have three eight-inch gaps in them letting in air."

Now, a $350,000 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will go toward much needed upgrades at city hall.

Snow, cold and glass doors don't mix

The city will use $120,000 in EECBG funding to create a new revolving front door as well as a new handicap, motorized door to make the entrance ADA compliant. City Services Director Jay Shoup said the new front doors will increase door space while reducing the city's carbon footprint and heat loss in the facility.

"Because of a hinging mechanism, the door never fit quite well," said Shoup. "The utility billing department sits on the bottom floor and they would always complain about how cold the building would get."

By changing the front doors, Marion officials said they hope to keep out the snowy, frigid weather in the winter, which typically hovers around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Shoup said he estimates that construction of the project will begin this fall and be completed by December.

"The building was losing a lot of energy out the front doors," said Shoup. "The doors were beginning to close slower and it took about five seconds for them to close completely, which is plenty of time to let out heat."

Lighting up savings

In addition to replacing the front doors, the city plans to retrofit all 3,500 T-12 fluorescent light fixtures in City Hall with more efficient T-8 fixtures. The lighting retrofit is expected to be 90 percent complete by December.

In all, Shoup said the upgrades are expected to save the city of Marion at least 20 percent on their gas bill, meaning the city is projecting $8,800 in annual cost savings. The city also expects to reduce energy usage in city hall by 4,400 kWh annually.

"The bottom line is we would not have done this project without the block grant," said Schertzer, "I think this project can be the beginning of a new trend for the people of Marion to think about energy consumption."