Energy-efficiency improvements focus at Harrisonburg center

The Washington, D.C.,-based Linc Services LLC is working with Harrisonburg to complete energy-efficient improvements to the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center.

The building renovations, which began in early September and are scheduled for completion by mid-October, are projected to save the city more than $150,000 over the course of 15 years.

“We’ve had a great experience working with Linc Services on this project,” City Manager Kurt Hodgen said. “They brought a knowledgeable and highly skilled project team to the table and provided our city with a comprehensive plan for upgrades, improvements and replacements that will help us reduce our energy and water consumption, as well as save money.”

After Linc Services conducted an extensive evaluation of the city’s needs and consumption patterns, Linc partnered with city officials to develop a comprehensive energy plan that aligned with the city’s desire to create a more comfortable environment in the center as well as reduce the building’s energy consumption and costs. As part of the solution, the city will be implementing a renewable energy source in the form of thermal solar energy. The new solar system will act as a supplement to the existing hot water systems now serving the facility.

Linc Services also evaluated the Activities Center’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment and lighting systems and incorporated a number of renovations to those systems in the energy plan. In order to accomplish the program’s goal, Linc replaced older HVAC roof top units with high-efficient HVAC units equipped with outside air economizers. By incorporating economizers into the units, the systems will be able to take advantage of natural cooling sources by bringing in outdoor air when conditions allow. Programmable HVAC controls were also incorporated to maximize energy savings. In order to reduce the energy consumed by the building’s existing lighting, Linc installed T5 high output light fixtures in the Gymnasium and electronic ballasted T8 light fixtures in the Exercise Room and Game Room, as well as upgraded the lighting in the Racquetball Courts. The lighting improvements will significantly reduce costs and increase the quality of the lighting in the center.

“We are very happy Linc Services has been able to support the city in improving their facility, while reducing their overall demand for energy,” said Jeff Buennemeyer, vice president for Linc Services. “The majority of the improvements will reduce the overall energy consumption and help address equipment that is at the end of its economical life.”

Partnering with Linc Services on the Activities Center’s building improvements is another leap in the green direction for the City of Harrisonburg. In the past few years, the city has also closed landfills and incorporated recycling programs. In 2006, Harrisonburg became a member of ICLEI-Local Governments of Sustainability, which is an organization of localities committed to advancing climate protection and sustainable government.

Using software tools provided by ICLEI the city, in partnership with faculty and students from the local university, conducted baseline emissions inventory of the energy use of the city’s municipal operations. The baseline emissions inventory identified opportunities for improvement and recognized actions that the city has already begun incorporating. Some of these actions include changing traffic lights to more energy-efficient LED lights, creating energy from waste at the Resource Recovery Facility, improving bicycle and pedestrian networks, and using biodiesel in select city vehicles. In addition, the city is also implementing the MS4 Permit Program, which is a citywide effort to protect the waterways in the city.
 
 

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at freepress2@ntelos.net.

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