Petersburg Pilot -


By Ron Loesch 

$245,000 energy grant allows city to improve energy efficiency of public buildings


Using a $245,000 grant from the Alaska Energy Authority, the City of Petersburg improved the energy efficiency of their city shop building, harbor office, Scow Bay fire hall and the community gym.

According to Community Development Director Leo Luczak, the city kicked in an additional $50,000 from the city’s building maintenance fund to complete additional work on some of their buildings. Luczak said $85,000 of the funds were used for weatherization and insulation upgrades to buildings and the balance went to upgrading light fixtures in each of the four buildings excluding the Scow Bay fire station.

Luczak said a 78-page report highlighted the deficiencies in the targeted buildings and projected potential energy savings the city could experience by making improvements to their buildings.

The recommendations included the installation of more efficient lighting fixtures, addition of insulation, sealing air leaks and in the case of the city shop, installation of a Mitsubishi Heat Pump that can recover heat from outside air as cold as -7 degrees, and heat the 3,500 sq. ft. city maintenance shop on Second Street.

Luczak said the grant covered $60,000 to purchase the heat pump, which was installed by local contractor Wally McDonald.

“We kept one oil burner in the garage for cold snaps,” said Luczak. “If it works as advertised, I can see all city buildings using this,” he added.

Luczak said oil heaters in the city shop building consumed 4,000 gallons of oil per year.

A crew of 4-5 contractors spent nearly three weeks in town with a spray insulation truck sealing leaks and adding insulation to the harbor office, the city shop and the Scow Bay fire hall, according to Luczak. In the city shop, insulation sheets were added to the walls and doors of the shop, to cut down on heat loss.

In the community gym, sodium light fixtures were replaced with 88-watt fixtures that were brighter. New lighting installed in the city shop were predicted to save the city $1,000 annually; in the racquetball court, $1,600 annually and in the community gym, $423 annually.

The cost of insulation improvements to the city harbor office will be paid back in less than two years; the city shop in less than a year, if projections are accurate. The improved lighting in the city shop improved the illumination within the building and the energy savings will pay back the upgraded fixtures in 2-1/2 years, according to Luczak.

The Scow Bay fire hall consumed $5,200 in fuel oil per year and with the added insulation and sealing of air leaks, the energy savings pay back could happen in 2.7 years according to the energy audit report.


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