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Manatee County Is Looking At New Way To Chill


BRADENTON --  Manatee County is on an energy hunt, and they have Ameresco and FPL Services looking for sources. What they found was that nearly half a million dollars each year at the county jail, and just as much downtown. With the guaranteed savings comes a reduced carbon footprint and greater life expectancy on equipment. How cool is that?

Both Ameresco and FPL Services performed energy audits for Manatee County's Property Management; Ameresco at the Manatee County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), and FPL Services in Down Town at the County's Administration building and others east of Manatee Avenue.

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At Tuesday BOCC workshop, David Thompson, Building Management Division Manager and Darryl Blair, Building Management Coordinator, delivered a presentation that included both Ameresco's and FPL surveyed analysis.  

Ameresco's focus was primarily on the MCSO Stockade and Detention Center. In all areas, lighting, water conservation (in showers, sinks, urinals and toilets), air conditioning and air handler replacement, savings could be big. For the first time, emergency power would be at hand for more than just the few operations to which it was available in the past.

The total cost of the MCSO project would be $7,468,020 and with only a $1,200,000 capital contribution down. The guaranteed savings over 20 years would be $10, 421,312, almost $500,000 a year. The total project construction timeline is approximated to be 18 months after the BOCC gives notice to proceed.

FPL Services' analysis focused on converting electrical cooling into water cooling for air conditioning through a central location; using a District Cooling Plant.

The area first targeted to receive the conversion was referred to as the downtown campus (county administration building and buildings north of Manatee Ave and south of the river). Two other buildings in the area that are said to be on board are the South Florida Museum and Sun Trust.

The District Cooling Plant could handle other buildings on line, ultimately saving the county additional funds by providing other buildings with cool air for less than what they are currently paying. 

Total FPL project cost would be $13,041,000 with a guaranteed annual savings of $622,000. The capital contribution to get the job started is $3,500,000. This project too could be done in 18 months.

Over 20 years, many things can go wrong with the current traditional equipment, and some is in need of maintenance now. Both projects would replace current operations with fewer and longer lasting parts, while using less power. 

Funds for the MCSO job are already in the Capitol Improvement Fund, and funds for the downtown campus could be arranged at low interest with the annual savings making the payments. The board will decide on the matter at a future BOCC meeting. 


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