The West Building, on E. Second Ave. in Durango, has long endured some disparaging remarks for its rather “large” appearance and, shall we say, lack of “historic” character in a town that prides itself on its charm.
But this “ugly duckling,” working with local contractors and staff at LPEA, is proving to be a “swan” when it comes to energy efficiency and conservation efforts.
According to Mark Schwantes, LPEA manager of corporate services, the West Building’s owners, manager and tenants enjoy a long history of cooperation with LPEA on “all things electric.”
“It’s an old building, with many tenants, so there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to enhancing the energy efficiency,” says Schwantes. “We were pleased to be able to help them.”
As a first step, the West Building’s management solicited services of a local commercial energy consultant to perform a detailed analysis and propose modifications and upgrades. A major step was changing out the antiquated heating-ventilation-air conditioning system to a more efficient system. Also significant was the lighting retrofit, working in conjunction with LPEA.
“The energy-guzzling T12 fluorescent lights were upgraded to T8s,” says Ray Pierotti, LPEA project specialist who assists commercial members with lighting. “Building-wide there is about a 50 kilowatt reduction, or a reduction in electric energy use of about 20 percent.”
With the $13,000 rebate from LPEA, the West Building’s estimated payback on the lighting investment is less than three years. Overall, the lighting efficiency efforts alone will show energy savings of more than 120,000 kilowatt hours annually.
“The West Building should realize more than $15,000 in electric bill savings annually just for the lighting retrofit work,” says Schwantes. “This is significant given that rates have just risen and may tend to increase in years to come.”
“As a result of the savings in energy costs, we are now able to purchase 100 percent Green Power from LPEA,” says Marie Leslie, West Building manager, referencing the renewable energy purchased from LPEA for a $0.08/100 kWh block. “The West Building has also been awarded an EPA ENERGY STAR based on the energy efficiency improvements made in heating/cooling and lighting.”
The West Building, with its purchase of 428 blocks of Green Power joins upwards of 1,700 LPEA members voluntarily supporting “clean,” renewable electricity generation.
“Thanks to the hard work, the owners’ investment, good commercial energy management, as well as the LPEA incentives and guidance, the West Building has achieved a nationally recognizable level of energy efficiency,” says Gregg Dubit, 4CORE executive director. “To achieve this on an older office building is especially noteworthy. 4CORE congratulates the West Building, and we are glad to call it home.”