Energy is a precious resource and conserving it is a major public concern. Several Virginia localities are doing something to address this important issue. In 2008, the General Assembly made energy conservation and energy efficiency projects eligible for VRA financing, and VRA is pleased to be assisting localities in these efforts. Halifax County, along with the Northwestern Regional Jail Authority, recently sought financing from VRA's VPFP to fund energy performance upgrades to several of their facilities.
Halifax County borrowed $670,000 for its energy upgrades, and the 15-year loan was issued at an All-in True Interest Cost of 3.93%. Halifax plans energy enhancements to four facilities, including the Library, Courthouse and County Administration buildings. These projects involve adding a solar light array, insulating windows, installing new energy-efficient casement windows in place of badly deteriorated ones and replacing older generation lighting with new energy-efficient lamps and bulbs. The County also used funds from this loan to change their phone system to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which generated much of the project's cost-savings. In making these upgrades, Halifax hopes to enhance the work environment of its employees, while also improving the conditions for visitors to these essential public facilities.
The Northwestern Regional Jail Authority (which serves the City of Winchester and the Counties of Clarke, Faquier and Frederick) borrowed $495,000 for energy upgrades at its Adult Detention Center, resulting in a 15-year loan with an All-in True Interest Cost of 4.32%. The facility improvements to the Detention Center focus on four types of upgrades to improve energy efficiencies for the benefit of the participating localities and their taxpayers: lighting, water savings measures, boiler controls re-commissioning and the addition of variable speed motor drives. These enhancements are expected to produce a gross savings of $150,000, with an average annual savings of $10,000.
"Given the current economic environment, coupled with the rising costs of energy, many localities are looking for ways to upgrade their facilities and make them more energy efficient," said Charlie Barksdale, Utilities and Performance Contracting Manager at the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. "One solution is to utilize Virginia's 'Energy Performance Contracting' (EPC) state contract whereby the value of the energy savings is used to pay for the cost of the project. The EPC contract is a great vehicle that allows localities to become more energy efficient and replace aging equipment. With approximately $250 million under contract and yearly savings of approximately $15 to $20 million, performance contracting has been very successful in helping the Commonwealth green its facilities without increasing any budgets or taxes."
These projects show the leadership of the participating localities in making prudent financial decisions that serve two very worthy goals, being good stewards of our environment and making investments that will result in long-term savings for their residents. VRA is proud to work with Halifax County and the Northwestern Regional Jail Authority to meet these goals!