Energy proposal could save city money

Published 1:38 am Saturday, November 27, 2010

A proposal to retrofit city buildings with energy-efficient lighting could cost Brewton $340,000, but save the city that much money over the next eight years.

“I think this is an exciting possibility for the City of Brewton,” Mayor Ted Jennings said.

Green Energy Electronics has proposed lighting changes for 11 city buildings, with fluorescent lights to be replaced by LED lighting that puts out the same amount of light with fewer watts, said Mike Baldree, president of the Nashville-based company.

“We have given a guarantee that we will show the savings we’re going to show,” Baldree said.

Baldree, who presented his proposal to city council members Tuesday, said the city would be able to use the proposal to apply for an energy savings loan from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Development. Those loans are no-interest over 10 years, Jennings said.

The council on Tuesday approved a plan to allow the mayor to go forward with an application for the loan, pending further study of the proposal.

Some of the buildings included in the plan might not see the kind of return on investment the city needs, Baldree said.

For example, the civic center — which has a lot of lights — would take nearly 12 years to see a “payback” on the lighting replacement.

“Those are things we want to look at, whether we can get payback in an ample time,” Baldree said.

The proposal Green Energy showed council members Tuesday would show a return on investment in eight years.

Jennings said the cost savings would be in the city’s best interest, but the project would have other benefits as well. “Environmentally, this could make Brewton one of the leading communities in this part of the country,” he said.