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April 5, 2011

Bright Idea Means Big Savings for Taxpayers

NEW LIGHTING FIXTURES CONSERVE ENERGY AND SAVE GREENHOUSE GASES - Doug Czirr of Oswego, a journeyman electrician working for Patricia Electric, installs a new lighting fixture on the third floor of the County Office Building at 46 E. Bridge St., Oswego. The county received federal grant funding to replace thousands of fixtures in two Oswego office buildings. The project is one of several undertaken by the Oswego County Green Team.

OSWEGO - Oswego County government will save more than $57,000 annually by updating the lights and lighting systems in two Oswego office buildings. The project, which involves installing new energy-efficient bulbs, ballasts and sensors, is partially funded through a federal stimulus grant distributed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

It is but one of the many projects being developed by the county Green Team, said Chairman of the Legislature Barry Leemann, and will avoid an estimated 627,506 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

"As I mentioned in my state of the county address earlier this year, I believe an important function of our county government is to save money for our taxpayers by taking advantage of grant opportunities," said Legislature Chairman Leemann. "Our Green Team is currently involved in nine different grant projects that will ensure a cleaner environment and provide clean breathable air for our children and grandchildren."

The lighting control project has been completed in the Legislative Office Building at 46 E. Bridge St., and electricians are now installing new interior and exterior lighting at the Health Department Office Complex at 70 Bunner St., Oswego.

The project was awarded through competitive bidding to Patricia Electric of Syracuse.

"For this particular project the county will provide just 25 percent of the total cost, or about $58,187. These local dollars will leverage approximately $174,563 from NYSERDA for the balance of the project," said Legislator Fred Beardsley, chairman of the Economic Development and Planning Committee. The committee oversees the Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning and approved the grant projects.

David Turner, director of the county Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, is coordinating the grant applications for the county.

"The scope of work includes new energy efficient bulbs, ballasts and occupancy sensors for several rooms, and new fixtures in places where outdated or inefficient fixtures existed," said Turner. "This project follows five others where we addressed similar efficiency measures at the Oswego and Pulaski courthouses, the county Buildings and Grounds facility, the Scriba Highway Garage and Camp Hollis. We have several more projects underway, including an energy management study, energy conservation grants for the Bunner Street and Bridge Street office buildings, and the installation of solar panels on the roof of the Bunner Street facility."

Turner said about 10,000 square feet of solar panels will be installed on the roof of the Bunner Street building later this year, with the capability of generating 19.3 kW hours of electricity for use at the office building.

"This is only a small portion of the daily electric use there, so it may be worth considering a wind turbine at the site if we can find a spot that meets the appropriate setback requirements," he added.

The Oswego County Green Team includes representatives of the County Legislature and the environmental management, highway, solid waste, purchasing, buildings and grounds, and community development, tourism and planning departments. The group works with several community partners, including Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, Environmental Finance Center at Syracuse University, SUNY Oswego, Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

"The Green Team has proven very successful and their actions have already produced energy savings, monetary savings, and environmental benefits for Oswego County," said Legislature Chairman Leemann.

Other members of the Legislature's Economic Development and Planning Committee are vice chairman Morris Sorbello, District 23; and Shawn Doyle, District 3; Mary Flett, District 17; Louella LeClair, District 25; Jacob Mulcahey, District 15; and Arthur Ospelt, District 12.

For more information, contact Legislature Chairman Leemann at 349-8230 or David Turner at the Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, phone 349-8322.

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