There's a lot of buzz about converting old light fixtures and other appliances to new, energy efficient ones, and if the City Council approves a measure at Tuesday's meeting, the city of Eau
Claire could be joining that trend.
18 different stoplights around the city have yet to be changed over to more efficient LED light
bulbs, which will save the city money and help save the environment.
But changing a light bulb is just the beginning of the proposed upgrades.
Change is also in the air for this old ventilation system at the Eau Claire city garage, as the city looks to replace it with a new, more efficient model.
"We can run the system intermittently, instead of consistently, which reduces our energy costs, says Eau Claire Public Works Director Brian Amundson.
The city council votes tonight on a contract with Honeywell International, which will give many city buildings an energy overhaul.
"By spending approximately $500,000 in energy improvements, we can save approximately $70,000 a year in consumption of energy,” says Amundson.
The improvements range from ventilation systems, to traffic signals, to weather stripping on window and doors, to the average light bulb in several city office buildings.
"The lights will be more friendly than florescent lights they have right now,” says Amundson.
If approved, the city hopes to have all the changes done by the end of the year. With renovations to city hall, the library, the central maintenance facility and several fire stations, you'd expect it to be costing taxpayers a lot of cash.
But city managers and community activists alike say these energy efficient measures
are cost effective, too.
"What they're doing is they're taking out a loan that can be paid off by the savings with this retrofitting and the annual savings is guaranteed by Honeywell, the contractors,” explains Meg Marshall of Sustainable Eau Claire. “So it's a no-brainer for the city to do this, it won't cost the taxpayers a cent."
Amundson says this is part of the city's larger sustainability initiative. If the city doesn't see the estimated amount of savings at the end of the ten year payment plan, Honeywell will reimburse the city for whatever amount hasn’t been covered.