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NL saves $27,000

New city garage slashes energy usage

By Scott Bellile

Sustainable features at New London’s new city garage are projected to save the city $27,000 annually in natural gas and electrical expenses.

Energy-efficient design components incorporated into the facility may reduce its yearly electricity demand by nearly 102,800 kilowatt-hours of energy when compared to a building that meets but does not exceed code requirements, according to WPPI Energy.

During construction of the new $3.3 million garage, which was completed last fall, the city participated in the New Construction Design Assistance Program. The program offers incentive funding to encourage businesses and residents to design green projects.

These incentives offset the upfront costs that come with implementing energy-saving measures that exceed state building code requirements.

New London’s design team installed energy-efficient windows, interior and exterior lighting controls, ventilation controls, roof insulation and a 95-percent-efficient boiler at the garage.

Through the New Construction Design Assistance Program, Focus on Energy contributed a $22,539 toward the project. New London Utilities, with assistance from WPPI energy, kicked in $1,375.

“Energy conservation is the most practical and effective way we can help protect the environment and keep our customers’ electric costs low for the long term,” New London Utilities General Manager Steve Thompson said in a statement. “When our customers take steps to conserve, they not only save on energy costs, but they also help to lessen demands on the local electric system.”

New London Parks and Recreation Director Chad Hoerth said a reduction in natural gas usage is remarkable when factoring in that the new garage is almost four times larger than the old one in terms of cubic feet.

“We are using less gas right now in the new shop than what we have been averaging over the last 12 years,” Hoerth said at an April 5 Parks and Recreation meeting.

What is now the “old” city garage down the street on Wolf River Avenue will be razed next month after 70 years of usage.

The concrete structure contained 22 garage doors that, when opened, let in plenty of frigid air during the winter. The new facility contains just two garage doors to help hold the heat in.

“Everybody knew that building was just a wind tunnel,” Third District Alderwoman Lori Dean said at the parks and recreation meeting.

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