|Sunnyside councilmembers conduct one of their first meeting inside of their new facility. The small, eastern county municipality moved into what used to be Petersen Elementary recently and has been holding meeting their since.|
Geothermal energy solutions are becoming the way to go in Carbon County.
During Sunnyside's regularly scheduled council meeting on April 1, municipal officials took into consideration an engineering study that could possibly save the city big money in energy costs.
"After going through the building, it has been determined that it is going to cost the city upwards of $50,000 a year for the heating and lighting of this facility," said Siemens representative Bret Hunter. "There are going to have to be some changes made here, starting with the fact that this building is not going to be used as a school anymore so initially the building will have to be re-zoned internally."
Sunnyside recently moved the city's base of operations into the Petersen Elementary School. After the building was donated to the municipality by Carbon School District, Sunnyside immediately began to tackle energy and building issues associated with the move.
"Typically, what is done for heating is that the one big boiler that you have now will be replaced by three or four smaller boilers capable of heating separate portions of the facility," said Hunter. "But in the end, there is no way that any lighting or energy savings found here are going to pay for the cost of bringing this building back up to code."
Hunter recommended that the city consider undertaking an engineering study that would be aimed at using geothermal resources under the old school as part of their energy solution.
"The state of Utah is abundant with geothermal resources and there is currently a good deal of funding available for underfunded municipalities who are seeking to explore geothermal heating," said Hunter. And thanks to Price city's commitment to a similar project the price of your study has been decreased simply because we will have more engineers available in the area."
While the cost of the proposed study is substantial, Hunter pointed out that the $9,700 estimate presented to the council is a maximum amount.
"What you have to realize about that cost, however, is that it will only be incurred fully by the city if you were to go through with the study and then decide that you were going to vacate the building," explained Hunter. "If you stay with the facility, the cost will be partially folded into the project and, as I said before, there is a lot of federal funding monies available for projects of this size and nature."
Depending on the individual facility's conditions, Siemens may propose a range of energy conservation measures and technologies, including:
Central heating plant.
Hot water heating system.
Domestic hot water heating.
Central cooling plant.
Air systems - single duct, terminal reheat, multi-zone, dual duct low velocity systems, dual duct high velocity, variable air volume, induction, return air and exhaust duct, fan coil -unit ventilator systems and utility service.
Specifically for the Sunnyside building, Hunter indicated all energy savings will be considered.
However, if a geothermal source is found, it can be used for heating and energy in the winter, then harvested for energy production on site.
"I am a 22-year veteran with these kinds of projects and I can tell you that I have seen them be very successful," said Hunter. "We are hoping to provide the city with a great amount of savings."
The council took the study under advisement overnight and the members will be polled by the mayor on April 3 in order to move the action ahead as soon as possible.