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County Partners with Siemens on Energy Upgrades

July 9, 2010 - 11:11am

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When you're really committed to energy efficiency and looking at $118,000 in potential energy savings annually, you want to share it.

That's the view in McHenry County, Ill., which partnered with Siemens Building Technologies to launch mchenrycounty-eecbg.net to let residents understand the connection between recent energy efficiency projects and C02 emissions.

The county, located outside the Chicago metropolitan area, was awarded $2,475,900 in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds through the Recovery Act in November. Through the Recovery Act-funded EECBG, county officials worked with Siemens to develop projects including a solar photovoltaic energy system, LED lighting at municipal buildings, boiler upgrades, energy efficiency retrofits at the county government center and a public education energy savings component. 

Thus far, the county has installed a solar energy system at the administration building and the county government center and installed fluorescent high-bay fixtures at three county transportation buildings.  Additionally, occupancy sensors and LED parking lot lights have been installed at the administration center. The remainder of the projects are expected to be finished by February of 2011.

McHenry County Board Chairman, Ken Koehler said, "This is an excellent opportunity for the county to tap into federal stimulus funds. First, it allows us to install cutting edge technology to reduce our energy costs. Secondly, we are able to lead the way in demonstrating environmentally sensitive solutions for energy needs."

A Green Screen kiosk will be installed at one of the county buildings to display live building energy data for building occupants and visitors. The web-based system will highlight monetary savings of the grants projects and display schematics of the "hidden" building systems that have been upgraded.

County officials expect to save $118,000 annually in energy costs because of the energy efficiency projects.

In addition to the financial savings for county taxpayers, the project is expected to reduce the county's carbon footprint by more than 1.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide—the equivalent of 5.2 acres of preserved forest and 137.6 automobiles driven for a year.

Over the previous four years, the partnership between McHenry County and Siemens delivered more than $120,000 in energy savings and avoided the release of approximately 2.1 million pounds of CO2 emissions from McHenry County facilities.

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