City of Rome, NY
Rome, New York self-funds infrastructure improvements through energy cost savings
At a Glance
- $8.6 million — Projected utility cost savings under a 15-year performance contract to expand and modernize the city’s wastewater treatment facility and from a broad range of energy efficiency improvements to city buildings.
- $246,000 — Savings generated during the construction phase of the project.
- $100,000 — Estimated annual savings from an improved, more energy-efficient wastewater treatment plant.
The challenge: Making essential city infrastructure upgrades without raising taxes
The city of Rome in upstate New York needed to attract new businesses to boost a sagging local economy. In order to do so, city leaders had to make significant infrastructure improvements, including expanding and upgrading their wastewater treatment plant to accommodate an influx of new businesses. At the time, however, their tax base was shrinking, their local budget had to be cut, and state budget cuts meant little or no funding was available to help. Yet leaving the plant in its current condition was not an option. The old plant’s inefficiencies and the expense of custom parts could cost the city approximately $1.2 million. The city of Rome needed a mechanism to pay for these critical improvements that would not cost residents any more in taxes.
The solution: A performance contract to fund improvements through energy savings
The city returned to work with Johnson Controls following a positive teaming experience on an energy savings performance contract in 2007. That collaboration resulted in numerous energy efficiency improvements, such as upgraded lighting, a new more efficient boiler, and deployment of an energy management system. Those improvements paid for themselves by lowering utility costs by approximately $2.8 million over the term of the agreement.
In 2008, the city again reached out to Johnson Controls. Under a new 15-year performance contract, Johnson Controls would expand and modernize the wastewater treatment plant and implement a broad range of city energy efficiency upgrades. The plan was to use savings from these efforts to help fund the projects rather than raise taxes.
Project financing came from a tax-exempt municipal lease made possible by New York State’s Energy Performance Contracting Legislation which applies to city-owned facilities.
Johnson Controls modernized the wastewater treatment plant, replacing old mechanical aerators with a state-of-the-art fine bubble aeration system and adding new, more efficient blowers and other components that significantly reduced the plant’s energy consumption.
In addition, Johnson Controls improved the energy efficiency of numerous city buildings, including City Hall, the central fire station, police department offices, and the Rome Arts Center. This included installing new boilers, high-efficiency lighting, and automated energy management systems. The resulting estimated utility savings are expected to enable the city to make these improvements at no cost to local taxpayers.
Results and benefits
Savings are projected to be $8.6 million over the 15-year term of the performance contract, and continue even after the contract ends. The city is also able to generate additional revenue by treating wastewater from landfill leachate. Beyond the financial benefits, the project also helped the city of Rome reduce its carbon footprint. For these efforts, the city of Rome garnered some notable recognition. The project was named 2009 Environmental Protection Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association.
It is crucial that we use energy at all of our facilities as efficiently as possible, both for economical and for ecological reasons. Through our partnership with Johnson Controls, we’ve been able to lower our costs and reduce our energy consumption while at the same time strengthening our ability to support the needs of current and future customers.
– James Brown, Mayor, City of Rome, NY
Johnson Controls can work with you to achieve your government energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Contact us to learn how to make your buildings work more efficiently, sustainably and profitably, or try our operations and energy savings calculator today.