Cut energy use by 36%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 41% and save taxpayers about $100,000 every year. What’s not to like?

Following a comprehensive audit of City Hall and the adjoining Police-Court building, New Rochelle is now poised to undertake the largest investment in public sector energy efficiency in … well, as long as anyone can remember. The project will include HVAC systems, windows, lighting, and much more.

This effort is long overdue and much needed. I am no expert, but if the shades in City Hall are fluttering while the windows are closed, that’s a bad sign, and there’s no excuse for such waste.

The total price tag for these improvements is estimated at $2,848,600. Funding will come from three sources: (1) $1,000,000 secured by Rep. Nita Lowey, who deserves great thanks; (2) $642,600 from the federal Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant, which was part of the stimulus package approved in 2009; and (3) a loan from the New York Power Authority in the amount of $1,206,000.

The City will be responsible for paying back the loan over 15 years. We conservatively estimate annual loan payments of $100,000. Reduced costs for energy, operations and maintenance, however are expected to be about double that amount, yielding immediate and ongoing savings for taxpayers.

You can read the energy audits that formed the basis for this project here and here. (I wouldn’t recommend these for vacation reading — they’re not exactly page-turners.) Note that some of the project details changed as additional information was assembled by engineers.

Our Sustainability Plan, GreeNR, recommends a series of additional steps to achieve public sector energy efficiency, while also encouraging residents and businesses to reduce their energy consumption. Our next initiative will convert exterior street lights to efficient LED models.