Energizing Taxpayer Dollars
The Park and Recreation Department is responsible for the operations and maintenance of all Des Moines municipal buildings. To make the city’s buildings and facilities more energy efficient, Parks has been utilizing input, expertise, and services of lighting and heating contractors, providers, energy professionals, and the State of Iowa. The city began a building energy conservation project in 2004, with the first phase focused on lighting retrofits at City Hall, the Argone Armory, and Police Station. Since then, a second phase of the project has addressed similar needs at ten fire stations, police site offices and the five community center buildings. The buildings have been equipped with high-energy efficiency lighting, resulting in more light for less cost. These changes have also resulted in cash to the city in the form of energy-saving incentive rebates. More than 150 motion-sensor light switches have been installed, with more to be changed over by year’s end. These projects have 1 to 5 year payback on their lifecycles.
Phase three, which is now underway involves improving or replacing more complex and expensive energy equipment. The roof of the Armory building will be covered with energy-saving material, a similar product was installed on Four Mile Community Center this past fall. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are also being updated, including boilers at City Hall and Police Headquarters. A grant award from the US Department of Energy to the city will underwrite the cost of replacing all windows in City Hall and the Armory beginning this summer.
Another project being coordinated with MidAmerican Energy allows the city to cycle their HVAC equipment start-ups with non-peak and less expensive energy rate times. An Iowa Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant will provide financial assistance in expanding and updating the HVAC controls for eight municipal buildings for a projected annual 10% energy savings. These and more steps to be taken in the future are moving city building operations toward becoming an “energy star.”