TUSCUMBIA — A Colbert County commissioner said an energy audit of the courthouse will reveal ways the county can save money by updating lighting, heating and air conditioning.
District 5 Commissioner Roger Creekmore said the heating and air conditioning system in the courthouse dates to 1975 and is not as energy efficient as modern heating and cooling units.
“I’d like to know how much money we could save on energy,” Creekmore said.
Members of the Alabama Retirees Technical Advisory Group will conduct the audit at no cost to the county.
Grant money from the Appalachian Regional Commission will pay for the audit.
Once the audit is completed, the commission can decide if possible savings will justify the expense of replacing the heating and cooling system and possibly adding new energy-efficient lighting.
Buster Smith, a member of the advisory group, said auditors will calculate the energy costs of the present system with costs associated with a new system.
“I just want us to know what we don’t know,” Creekmore said.
Smith said the audit will primarily focus on lighting, which is something that could provide the county with an immediate savings because of improvements in technology.
“We’ll check their utility bills to see how much power they’re using,” Smith said. “We’ll see if they’re using an unreasonable amount of water. We know approximately how much water they’re using.”
Commissioner Rex Burleson said the audit is a good idea.
“We’ll let them come in and see what’s going on,” Burleson said.
Burleson said he expects auditors to inspect the windows at the courthouse to see if replacing them might provide energy savings.
Replacing the windows could be an expensive proposition considering the historic nature of the courthouse.
Smith said the inspectors will check windows for cracks to see if air is leaking in.
They also will check doors and ceilings as well as the amount of insulation in the building.
Creekmore provided commissioners with information on the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs’ local government energy loan program, which enables public entities like a county government to receive a zero interest loan to make energy efficiency improvements.
A local government can receive a loan of up to $350,000 for improvements.
Creekmore made it clear during Tuesday’s commission meeting that he was not seeking funding for any improvement project at this time.
Smith said the audit should take a few days to complete.
Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.