Discomfort and inefficiency remedied with Breckenridge City Hall boiler replacement


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Breckenridge City Hall produced very high heating and cooling costs before the installation of a new boiler system and condensing units.

Citizens in the city of Breckenridge, Minnesota were seeing alarmingly high heating and cooling costs in their City Hall, and sought to rectify the problem by applying for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The building would vary in temperature drastically from being too hot to too cold and back again. Angela Headlee, the former Central Region CERT Coordinator, interviewed Beverly Wilson, Breckenridge City Clerk / Treasurer. Read on to find out how Breckenridge went about fixing the problem and reducing the building’s energy consumption and costs!

Angela Headlee: How would you describe the community of Breckenridge to someone who has never visited here?

Beverly Wilson: Breckenridge is a small agricultural town (population 3,560) right on the western border of Minnesota and North Dakota. It has a dynamic setting as it is linked to the city of Wahpeton, North Dakota just over the river. The two cities compete for businesses and with all of the current tax credits in North Dakota, Breckenridge struggles to stay on the same playing field.

Angela: How and why did this project begin?

Beverly: I spearheaded the project because we’ve had very high heating and cooling costs in the City Hall building. It is an old building and not energy efficient. During the winter the temperature would vary all over the place, hot and cold and then back to hot. The comfort varied drastically. I knew something needed to be done so I contracted a mechanical engineer and he helped put together the plan and write the grant. It was determined that we needed a new boiler system and condensing units.

Angela: How did you select that mechanical engineer?

Beverly: We did a Request For Proposal (RFP) to determine which contractor to use. The mechanical engineer, who has since moved to another city, sub-contracted the plumbing and electric contractors – Schmitty’s Plumbing and Heating and Summerville Electric – through a bid process. The engineer handled all of the sub-contracting.

Angela: Do you know the amount of energy that is being saved?

Beverly: I think there was an amount listed in the grant that was an estimate of the amount of energy that we would save but I haven’t heard yet the exact numbers. We don’t have the entire system running yet.

Angela: What were the total project costs?

Beverly: $103,995. There weren’t any rebates, because we have our own municipal utility here in Breckenridge. There was only a match of $3,995 to the $100,000.

Angela: What are the biggest successes of this project?

Beverly: In the long run there will be energy savings, but the biggest success is the comfort level of the people that work in this old building. We no longer have the temperature swings from hot to cold and back again.

Angela: What do you wish you would have known before starting this project?

Beverly: I wish I would have known more about what to look for in the Benchmarking. Davis Bacon reporting has been a real ‘learning experience.’ I also wish that we would have known that our existing controls for the old system would not work with our new system. We had to hire Johnson Controls to come in and install new controls for the new system so that it would work.

Angela: Are there other projects being developed as a result of this project?

Beverly: After learning about the efficiency improvements at the Rothsay fire station at the June Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) forum for local units of government, we are now looking at our fire station and how we could save energy there. The energy bill for that building is extremely high.

For more information about this project, Contact Beverly Wilson at bwilson@breckenridgemn.net or visit the Breckenridge website at: http://www.breckenridgemn.net/.

See more local government success stories from the Division of Energy Resources >>

Other Local Government Energy Action Heating & Cooling Stories:

Local Government Energy Action About the Local Government Energy Action Series:

This year-long effort tells the stories of nearly 50 Minnesota municipalities, counties, and schools and the tangible results of their energy-saving efforts to inspire others to take their own actions. See all stories in this series >>

Local Government Energy Action is brought to you by the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources.

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