Municipal Buildings Update

Update to City Council on Revolving Loan Fund and Municipal Building Efficiency Projects

October 24, 2018

In September 2016, Council approved the establishment of the Net Zero Revolving Loan Fund with an allocation of $20,000 from the Reserve Fund, which was matched by $5,000 from Efficiency Vermont. Over the next year, guidelines for use of the Fund were developed, along with an application process, tracking system (online software called GRITS).

In March 2017, we approved the first pilot project using the Fund, to install a capacitor at the water treatment plant. This doesn’t exactly save energy but it does save money on the electric bill by reducing the peak demand charges. Cost of this project was $2,700 with a payback period of 1.35 years, so this project has actually been repaid in full. Based on the Fund guidelines, 50% of the annual savings will be paid back into the Fund for 2 years to help build it over time.

MEAC started to look for additional projects that could be financed through the Fund, and realized that there were no energy audits on file for most of the City’s municipal buildings. MEAC requested $20,000 from Council for Level 2 energy audits and put the project out to competitive bid. The winning contractor, Cx Associates, was able to provide audits of six major municipal buildings: City Hall, Fire Station, Police Station, WRRF Office, Water Treatment Plant and DPW Office/Garage. These audits were completed in Fall 2017. The report looks at each building individually to address both opportunities for electricity savings as well as thermal savings/envelope improvements in a list of “recommended measures”. Each recommendation includes an estimated cost to implement as well as the estimated energy savings.

Upon receiving the Audit reports, MEAC’s municipal working group set out to review the audit reports with the individual building operators to confirm that they were in agreement with the recommendations, and to identify which projects could potentially be completed with in-house labor or needed to be subcontracted out.

Many of the projects are large enough to be beyond the scope of the Fund. Specifically we have been looking for projects under $10k with a payback period of 4 years or less. In meeting with building operators we discovered some discrepancies in the audit reports and as a result the municipal working group has re-evaluated the prioritization of certain projects.

Over the summer we worked with Facilities Project Manager Steve Twombly to define the scope of and get subcontractor quotes for the following projects:

• Replacement of interior storm windows at DPW ($1,600)

• Weatherization and air sealing of windows in City Hall and replacement of missing/broken interior storms on stained glass windows ($6,500)

• Replacement of house lights in City Hall theater with LED bulbs ($4,900)

Total Revolving Loan Fund projects in progress Fall 2018: $13,000

These projects have been approved for funding with the Net Zero Revolving Loan Fund and are expected to be completed in Fall 2018.

Steve is also working on getting a quote from Bradley Flowers on replacement of one dehumidifier unit at the Water Plant; if this project comes in under $10,000 with a payback of 4 years or less, then we also expect to approve that loan.

Status of Municipal Buildings

City Hall


• Capital Needs Assessment (2011)

• Conversion to District Heat (2014)

• Energy audit (December 2017)

• Retro-commissioning study of district heat loop efficiency (August 2018)

In Progress:

• Air sealing/weatherizing all 150 windows (approximately 65 completed so far) ($6k, thru RLF)

• Replacing interior storm windows in stained glass locations where glass is broken

• Replacement of theater house lighting with LEDs ($5k, thru RLF)


• Pursue alternatives to summer district heat loop powered by basement boilers

• Consider centralized air conditioning/chillers in combination with Fire Station

• Improve ventilation in boiler room

Police Station


• Conversion to District Heat (2014)

• Retro-commissioning of HVAC system (July 2017). Identified problem as generator exhaust fan, which was operating continuously due to a broken sallyport garage door switch. This broken switch resulted in roughly 500 MMBTU/year of wasted heating energy and 3,500 kWh in wasted electrical energy at a cost of $14,500 annually

• Energy audit (December 2017)

• Replaced sallyport switch and installed CO sensors and timer

• Building management controls system updated and commissioned by Cx Associates

In Progress:

• Replacement of original chiller air conditioning system with air source heat pumps ($147,000)


• Air sealing improvements on doors and windows and generator room (Cost $15,000, Annual Savings $1000)

• Replace hot water circulator pumps (cost $1000, savings $120/yr)

Fire Station


• Conversion to District Heat (2014)

• Energy audit (December 2017)

• Retro-commissioning report on winter snowmelt system

In Progress:


• Air sealing/weatherization of windows (to be completed in same manner as City Hall)

• Turn off district heat loop from City Hall in summer (generates waste heat)

• Install controls on winter snowmelt system to prevent it from being activated when temperatures are above freezing

• Retrofit exterior lighting with LEDs

• Air sealing around doors and damper openings

WRRF Office


• Multiple process upgrades including Low Pressure Blower, High Lift Pump VFDs

• Energy audit (December 2017)

In Progress:

• Aeration upgrade

• Organics to Energy

• Replace circulator pump once current one dies


• Air sealing and insulation of entire building – attic, exterior walls, windows (estimated $75,000)

• Exterior lighting upgrade to LEDs

Water Plant


• Lighting upgrades (2014, 2016)

• Capacitor (April 2016)

• Energy audit (December 2017)

• Retro commissioning report (2018)

• Hallway lighting re-lamped with LED fixtures (summer 2018)

In Progress:

• Getting quotes for dehumidifier replacement (potential Revolving Loan Fund project)


• Exterior lighting replacement with LEDs

• Consider shutting off boiler in summer instead of running 365 days/year

• Replace air-scour blower which provides air for cleaning the process filters

• Misc. air sealing

DPW Office


• Furnace fan VFD upgrade (Mar 2017)

• Energy audit (December 2017)

In Progress:

• Replace missing interior storms


• Replacement of all windows and doors

• Exterior insulation wrap

• Explore options for heating using methane from WRRF

• Miscellaneous air sealing and insulation along steel I-beam

Rec Center


• Energy Audit (2010)

• Capital Needs Assessment (2015)

Senior Center


• Installation of pellet boiler

Other Municipal Buildings Not Audited:

Union Elementary School

Main Street Middle School

Montpelier High School


Parks Dept office

Caretakers House

Rec Field pool building

Kate StephensonComment