By ASHLEY HELMS
Upgrades to town facilities are expected to be easier on the environment and on energy bills at the same time.
To finance improvements to the Hommocks Ice Rink, which will allow the facility to be open year round, and the Mamaroneck Town Center, the Town Council approved a company to work with the town to usher in a sustainability makeover. The contractor has been hired following the outline of an energy service contract.
An energy service contract allows “green” projects to be packaged together so public entities can pay for the construction through energy savings that follow the construction project.
In essence, the energy savings stemming from the projects become a cash flow, Town Supervisor Nancy Seligson, a Democrat.
“And if [Honeywell] doesn’t make the savings, they will pay the difference,” Seligson said. “It’s a complicated formula; it takes pieces of the project and they come up with blended savings.”
The town’s energy service contract, worth $4.9 million, has been made with global energy solutions company Honeywell Controls to bring about environmentally friendly upgrades to aging buildings.
According to Town Admin-istrator Steve Altieri, the town will be bonding for the price of the contract over the next month. This will be reflected in residents’ tax bills in 2015. Altieri said the taxpayer share has not been calculated yet, but bond interest rates are expected to stand at roughly 3 percent.
After Honeywell looks over the facilities’ energy bills and takes into consideration how long each building will be open during the day, along with its inside temperatures, the company will be able to guarantee energy cost savings for the town going forward, Altieri said. So far, the town administrator said the estimated energy savings for the town will be $260,000 per year. If energy service goals are not met, the town will be reimbursed.
“The town and Honeywell will agree on certain operating parameters; hours per day [each facility] will be open, the temperature inside…and at the end of each year, [Honeywell] will come in and audit the energy use,” Altieri said. “If we do not accomplish the savings they indicated, they must write us
Selig-son, said the Town Center is 30 years old and the ice rink is 23 years old and both are in need of construction to make them more sustainable and up-to-date.
At the rink, the chiller system that keeps the ice surface cold is going to be replaced along with a new air handling unit and a heat recovery ice melt system.
A heat recovery ice melt system is when scrapped ice from the zamboni—a machine that resurfaces the ice and makes it smooth again—is melted down into water and reused on the ice surface, the supervisor said. The rink’s bleachers will be heated in a new way, as well.
“In the process that creates ice, heat is created, and that will go to heating the [rink] area,” Seligson said.
Hommocks Ice Rink Man-ager Rob Lunde said he is looking forward to seeing savings on the rink’s energy bill. He said the project is mostly mechanical and the average rink attendees may not notice improvements aside from the new barriers that surround the ice surface.
“The facility was built in 1989 and we’re long overdue for an upgrade,” Lunde said.
In the Town Center, the attic will be sealed so the building will hold in heat more efficiently and four of its eight boilers will be replaced and switched over to a natural gas heating system, Seligson said.
All the town’s street lights will also be switched from regular bulbs to LED. Using LED lights are expected to drive energy savings, the supervisor said. LED lights use less electricity and last longer than conventional bulbs.
Honeywell’s outline of the energy service contract was broken down into tiers. The first tier of the energy service contract audit looked at energy bills for the facilities through 2012, according to Altieri. The second tier will involve Honeywell studying the 2013 energy bills and touring the facilities to see what the mechanics are.
“Now they’re going to scour the facilities and make sure all the energy uses are part of that audit so they can determine accurate energy usage data,” Altieri said.
After it conducts its second tier energy audit in the coming weeks, Honeywell will be able to guarantee energy savings for the town for the next 20 years, Seligson said.
In 2013, the Rye Neck School District also approved an energy service contract with Honeywell in order to improve the district’s energy systems.
The town project is expected to run from April to October 2014, when the ice rink is closed for the spring and summer season, the supervisor said.
“We’re closing [the ice rink] two months earlier than we normally would,” Seligson said. “Currently it’s seasonal, but with the upgrades we are going to be able to use it all year. A crux of this project for us is that it had to be done in a short time frame.”
According to Seligson, the town has never utilized an energy service contract before. After conducting research throughout 2013, she said she discovered packaging various energy upgrades together in an energy service contract allows a municipality, under state law, to work with just one contractor who then subcontracts the work.