by Heather B. Hayes
Photo courtesy Spectrum Design
Roanoke-based Spectrum Design’s reputation as a go-to company for green design and engineering got a boost when it recently was asked to conduct two studies on energy-saving ideas for public buildings.
The studies were requested by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC) and Botetourt County. Spectrum Design’s work — and any subsequent energy upgrades and building modifications — is being financed with economic stimulus funds through a block grant program administered by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.
For the CSPDC project, Spectrum Design will look at 21 public facilities in Rockbridge, Bath, Highland, Rockingham and Augusta counties and in the cities of Lexington, Waynesboro, Buena Vista and Staunton. In Botetourt, the firm will evaluate 33 buildings.
Frank Moeller, Spectrum Design’s senior associate and project manager, says the studies will be comprehensive, taking into consideration insulation, windows, roofing, heating and cooling systems, power loads and lighting. The firm will provide a report on each building with recommendations on upgrades to lighting and mechanical systems, temperature and power controls, weatherization, water efficiency measures and renewable energy sources.
The reports also will identify the cost of implementing each recommendation and estimated energy savings. Those figures will be compared to generate an expected payback time for each expense.
The reports are expected to be completed this summer. At that time, CSPDC and Botetourt officials likely will decide which investments they can afford to make.
Moeller says his firm wanted to be involved in these projects to showcase the practicality of sustainable improvements. “This isn’t just some study that’s discussing theoretical benefits,” he explains. “We want to be able to show that there are real localities that are saving real dollars on their utility bills, and that those energy savings mean less operating cost, more efficiency and, hopefully, the need for less taxes.”
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