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Energy Savings, Improved Comfort for West Virginia County Government

July 29, 2010 - 6:15pm

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The new chiller system at the Dunn Building replaced an outdated rooftop-based HVAC system. | Photo courtesy of Deborah Hammond

The new chiller system at the Dunn Building replaced an outdated rooftop-based HVAC system. | Photo courtesy of Deborah Hammond

On any given day up to 2,000 people visit the Dunn Building in Martinsburg, W. Va. The building is the site for the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, the Berkeley County Commission and other municipal offices.

And that means energy demand in the facility is high, as computers, laboratories, and office lights are constantly in use. An inefficient HVAC, installed in the late 1980s and quickly running out its lifespan, only added to the problem of inefficient heating and cooling and high-energy demand.On any given day up to 2,000 people visit the Dunn Building in Martinsburg, W. Va. The building is the site for the Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, the Berkeley County Commission and other municipal offices.

"Our HVAC system was in disrepair," says Deborah Hammond, county administrator for Berkeley County. "We needed to get rid of the older units and find a more effective way to cool the building."

A $329,600 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funded through the U.S. Department of Energy and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped turn that goal into reality.

The block grant, in combination with county bond funds and state grants, funded the replacement of the old HVAC system, which consists of rooftop units, with a new a chiller system fan coil units and enhanced duct work.

The chiller system was installed and commissioned at the county building earlier this month.

"The new HVAC will make employees and public visitors more comfortable and reduce assessment and maintain costs," Hammond says. "But that is not to say we are only making employees more comfortable, we are making a long-term investment into energy efficiency with this project."

Replacing the HVAC system at the Dunn Building, which formerly housed the Blue Ridge Outlet Mall, will save Berkeley County 103,000 kWh of energy per year. The county also estimates an annual reduction of 141,100 pounds of CO2 emissions.

The new system has a 20-year replacement cycle. Hammond says estimated cost savings have not yet been generated but she expects county taxpayers to benefit from the completion of the project.

The HVAC system upgrade at the Dunn Building is the latest public works project to implement Berkeley County’s greater energy strategy to reduce costs and emissions. Other projects have included energy efficient renovations at the Berkeley Building, the site of the county judicial center and the Crawford Building, which houses additional courtrooms and offices for the Circuit Court.

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