City Hall Energy Retrofit – City of Espanola

Location: New Mexico, USA

Population: 10,102 (2019)

Climate: Semi-arid

Duration: 2011

Sector: Buildings

Funding sources: Public

City networks: N/A

Savings: The project reduced the City Hall’s heating and cooling bills by 50%.

Solutions: The City installed a geothermal heating and cooling system with computer-controlled thermostats and an air handling system for its City Hall.

Multiple benefits: 22 jobs were created during construction of the project; improved indoor comfort and employee productivity; higher supply continuity during cold winters.

Objective – To save heating and cooling costs for the City and to improve indoor comfort and productivity for the employees and visitors in the City Hall.

Solutions – In 2010, a 30-year-old gas-fired boiler and forced-air heating system at City Hall had reached the end of its life. Even after conversion to an electric boiler, the forced-air system was still inefficient and performed poorly. Many employees resorted to using small, electric space heaters to stay warm. The summer was just as bad. Evaporative ―swamp‖ coolers barely cooled the 10,000 square-foot building during the summer. Neither system provided much comfort for the roughly 25 employees and the many daily visitors doing business with the City.

Using federal grants and its fund, the City of Española installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, computer-controlled thermostats, and an air handling system in its City Hall in 2010.

The City also took the opportunity to implement other energy efficiency measures to maximize savings. The old evaporative cooling units were removed, and the roof was repaired, coated with sprayed urethane foam insulation, and sealed. The insulation provides substantial protection against heating and cooling losses. Vestibules were also installed at all three entrances, with double sets of doors acting as airlocks to isolate the heated or cooled inside air from the outdoors.

Funding –$451,680 of Federal stimulus funds and $145,990 of supplemental funds from the City.

Innovation – (1) Switching from natural gas to geothermal for public building heating and cooling; (2) combining the clean heating and cooling technology with some energy efficiency retrofit to the building; (3) integrating computer-controlled thermostats and air handling system to optimize and automize operation.

Success factors – (1) Available for federal grant; (2) innovative design and planning of the project.

Significant outcomes

  • These actions reduced the City Hall’s heating and cooling bills by 50%;
  • The City Hall gets more comfortable indoor temperature and avoids disruptions in heating and cooling service during extreme weather events;
  • Reduced GHG emissions.

Synergies with local policies:

  • The City of Espanola and its neighbouring area faces water shortage and increasing climate change [source]. The project aligns with the local policy of pursuing sustainable economic growth and increasing local employment [source].

Political alignment:

  • The project is aligned with the Climate change Action Plan of New Mexico [source].
  • It is also aligned with the federal policy and received substantial funding from the federal government.

Marketability: N/A

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Sector: Buildings

Country / Region: United States

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Southwest Energy Efficiency Project