ALBANY Can going green save the budgets of local government entities? A proposal by an Atlanta-based company to local leaders suggests so.
BEPC, LLC, a company based out of Alpharetta, told local leaders at a meeting this morning that significant savings can be realized through their program which essentially audits the energy usage of local governments and then makes proposals for energy savings through a variety of ways including the use of induction lighting for street lights and gyms to capturing methane at landfills.
The company then amortizes the savings over 10 years and guarantees the funding up front so that the work can be done at no preliminary cost to taxpayers.
"This program allows the use of future energy savings to be used today," Ian Martin, a representative of the BEPC told local leaders.
Using street lighting as an example, Martin said that his company will come in and do a preliminary audit of the city's street light network. If it appears that savings could be had, then an additional detailed audit would be done to state specifically where the savings could be achieved and how much could be saved.
The company would then work with companies like Johnson Controls, Siemans and others to find the best deal and those companies would then pay the projected savings to the local governments up front so that the work could begin on the projects.
If, over that five or ten-year amortization period the projected savings aren't realized, the companies, not the taxpayer, are responsible for absorbing that loss, he said.
And the audit doesn't stop at energy use.
Martin said that the organization would look at all facets of operations to see where there may be inefficiencies that could result in savings; from fleet management to Information technology.
It's something that elected officials like Dougherty County Commissioner John Hayes said could give commission the savings it needs to avoid a proposed millage increase.
"Any relief that we can bring to our citizens is positive, the more efficient we can be as a government, even if we didn't have our budget issues, obviously would translate into savings," Hayes said. "I'm for being proactive with this."
Hayes said that after hearing the presentation he believes the county should move forward with an audit and see if and when any savings can be realized.
"You better believe it, as much and as often as I can because I believe there is life in this thing. If we can find away to forgo any mill hike based on a way that is creative and positive for the county then I think we need to pursue it."
City Manager James Taylor was a little more hesitant to jump in full bore, but did sound optimistic about the presentation.
"I think it's something that we should look at that this year, but I don't know about this particular budget," Taylor said. "We know there are savings and we know there are benefits. The problem is finding a way to get to those benefits. Traditionally, we've used things like SPLOST, we've improved our traffic signals to LED through SPLOST and grants.
"Maybe having someone come and certify or identify those savings is a benefit and two, if that organization is willing to bankroll those savings and mitigate the risks by saying 'if you don't get there, we'll cover the cost,' that's big. That's really big," Taylor said.
The next step will likely be to look at the company's track record.
Martin said that the company was able to help the Bibb County School District realize $2.5 million in new savings, and that a retrofit of a number of Best Buy stores organized by the company will lead to $70 million savings over the next 10 years.