To Save or Not To Save

April 1, 2014 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment

By Andrew Richter

From the Sun Post;

New Hope is celebrating a savings of $96,381 after just one year of energy upgrades as part of the Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement with McKinstry, a full-service design, build, operate and maintain firm.

So then why don’t you reduce city spending by $96,381?

In September 2011, New Hope entered into the energy savings agreement, the start of a $4.4 million project to decrease the city’s energy consumption. As part of the project, the city was issued a Technical Service Agreement guaranteeing the city would save the “total guaranteed savings” at the least in utility, operation and maintenance.

Now am I reading this right? New Hope has “saved” $96,381 but they plan to spend $4.4 million?

The company estimated the annual guaranteed savings to be $71,144 for utility costs and $122,227 for operation and maintenance, figures that are conservative according to Trish Curtis of McKinstry. “We’re conservative when we estimate,” she said. “So, it’s not uncommon to see (the savings) a little bit above (our estimate) but we’re always delighted when they’re several thousand dollars above.”

Government is always conservative in estimates so then they can call something a success.


McKinstry worked to install new interior light fixtures in several city-owned facilities such as City Hall, the police department, Milton Honsey Pool, Public Works, the golf course and ice arena. Not only did the upgrades improve the quality of light, they reduced the electric utility consumption within each facility by 48 percent, or $12,418 annually.

And what was the cost of these fixtures? I’m guessing they aren’t free….

Many of the facilities within the city are older buildings, which means cracks and crevices that allow for air to escape and impacting heating and cooling bills. McKinstry worked to seal exterior wall and roof crevices, seal door sweeps and add weather stripping and caulk around windows. These efforts saved the city $12,924 in the first year.

OK but how much did the seal wall and door sweeps cost?

In addition to replacing interior lighting, the exterior lighting was targeted. The existing light fixtures were replaced with LED technology, which emits brighter, whiter light, consume less energy and have a longer life. This effort raked in $5,355 of savings within the first year.

McKinstry even went so far as to adjust the vending machine controls in city buildings. The machines will now lower the frequency of compressor run-time when buildings have fewer occupants. The small gesture will save the city $703 annually.

Water consumption is an issue in public facilities that see significant traffic throughout the day. Upgraded plumbing fixtures utilize less water while maintaining adequate flow. The efforts to control water usage saved $4,778 in the first year.

OK I ask again what was the cost of the plumbing fixture? Is New Hope paying $25,000 to save $4,4478?

McKinstry also replaced the roof of the north rink at the New Hope Ice Arena, adding increased insulation, therefore saving energy and money. The roof saves the city $661 annually.

I’m guessing replacing the roof costs more than $661? Ya think?

The ice arena received one more upgrade: a new refrigeration system that will provide adequate cooling to the individual rinks and utilize the heat generated by the compressors for general heating purposes. This effort will save the city $58,806 per year.

The final effort to conserve energy and save money came with the replacement of a number of traffic lights. New LED lights were implemented at the intersections of 49th Avenue North and Highway 169 as well as 36th Avenue North and Jordan Avenue North. That step saves the city $708 each year.

Only one year after implementing the upgrades, the city has seen a savings of $96,381 in utility costs, which is $25,237 more than the guaranteed savings predicted by McKinstry. It is also expected that the city saved a minimum of $122,227 this year in maintenance and operation costs thanks to the upgrades.

The improvements equated to a total savings of 21,358 Therms, 949,800 killowatts per hour and 4,448 gallons of water or a combined 25 percent reduction in total energy usage for the affected buildings.

“It was a huge success,” Curtis said.

Moving forward

After the successes were reported, several council members and city staff saw no need in continuing the services through McKinstry. The agreement cost New Hope the nearly $7,500 annually for McKinstry’s services.

New Hope spends that much money every hour!

“I think it’s a great idea to end the service agreement assuming we don’t think this savings is a fluke,” said Councilmember John Elder.Curtis assured the council that other cities have both ended their agreements after one year or have chosen to continue for another, either way each city is continuing to see savings.

Councilmember Daniel Stauner was reluctant to end the agreement since he was not entirely convinced just one year could adequately portray the types of savings the city would see for years to come. Ultimately, the City Council agreed to end the agreement.

“I’m really impressed with the energy savings,” said Mayor Kathi Hemken. “I guess I’m ok with letting this (agreement) go. It seems we could use the $7,500 for something else.”

Something else? Well, we know one thing, New Hope will spend it, they’d do anything but give it back to the taxpayers.

Anyhow, I’m curious what is the cost of all these upgrades? How do we know how much we are saving when we don’t what this costs to do?

Of course all the Greenies don’t care what anything costs, nature come ahead of man in their world, but this is at taxpayer expense. That information should be provided…….we used to call that journalism.




Entry filed under: City Government, Mayor, New Hope.

Somebody’s Not Telling Us The Whole Truth Spending Our Money to Get More of our Money

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