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Public Works

Bernalillo County started an energy efficiency program in late 2009. 

The focus of the program was to reduce energy use at County facilities, for the following reasons:

  • Bernalillo County budgets $3.5 Million for electric utility expenses and $750,000 for natural gas costs annually. 
  • Gas and electric costs, especially electric costs, continue to rise.
  • There is a substantial impact upon our environment, and on the availability of natural resources such as water, oil, gas and coal due to energy use and energy demand locally, nationally and globally.

About Bernalillo County Efforts

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Bernalillo County has obtained almost one million dollars in grant funding for energy efficiency. The first grant, administered by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) was utilized to redo the heating ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) at the Atrium Building. This building, located on North Second Street, houses the Fire Department and the Emergency Management Program. The building was constructed in 1986 and is 28,000 square feet. The HVAC system was failing and was not functioning to maintain comfort for the occupants. This resulted in daily service calls for the County Fleet and Facilities, discomfort for the users, and wasted energy and costs. In the last year, the electricity use at the building has decreased by 69,300 kilowatt-hours, an energy use reduction of 17%. As part of the project the County also installed energy efficient lighting, and a new boiler as well as a solar hot water heater. 

The second grant, administered by the State of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department was for energy efficiency at a number of County Buildings. Work under this grant is still underway. This grant focused upon energy savings through lighting replacement, addition of vacancy sensors to County buildings, insulation and weather-stripping, and two HVAC replacements. The grant funds were expended by April 2011 and the County is currently in the required monitoring period. Buildings retrofitted under this grant include: BC Courthouse, Steve Schiff Building, Metropolitan Assessment and Treatment (MATs), Juvenile Detention Center, and Public Works Buildings at 2400 Broadway SE.

To date, comparing only a five month period, energy savings at the facilities range from 6% to 21%.  The Water Resources and Energy Efficiency Program continues to evaluate County buildings for energy efficiency retrofits, and provide funding for energy retrofits. The County will actively pursue all available rebates and incentive programs to defray the costs of retrofit programs. Both PNM and the ABCWUA have strong rebate programs, which the County has, and will continue to utilize.

Currently, program staff is evaluating energy use in buildings identified by the Fleet and Facilities Department as high energy use buildings.  Five buildings have been selected for energy audits and retrofits so far.  They are: Westside Community Center Annex, Union Square, Los Vecincos Classroom Building, the North Area Command, and the Rio Grande Pool. Additionally, the Program will work with County management and employees to reduce energy use at all County buildings. If you would like further information about the County’s Energy Efficiency Program, please call 848-1500, or email us at energy@bernco.gov.

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