WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Wichita County commissioners are finishing a near four million dollar project to make their county buildings more energy efficient.
Before the Ameresco project, the courthouse had electricity bills of around $45K per month. But with the project almost finished, county officials are already seeing the benefit of this venture.
“The idea behind it was one, provide better creature comforts in the 20 plus-year-old system we had in there. And then, second, was to lower utility costs,” Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said.
This project began two years ago and the project has been in the courthouse and the Scott Street Annex since early this year. The goal is to lower energy costs by 20% and county commissioners are beginning to see that.
“The last time I looked, we were looking at that kind of reduction,” Wichita County Commissioner Precinct 1 Mark Beauchamp said.
If the courthouse doesn’t meet its goal of savings, Ameresco has to pay a percentage back.
“We have a guaranteed savings each year,” Commissioner Beauchamp said. “I believe this year our guaranteed savings is just over $100,000 guaranteed. If we don’t meet the guarantee then they pay the difference between what we don’t meet and the guaranteed amount for each year.”
The project will pay for itself over the next two decades.
“It has a nineteen-year payback from the guaranteed savings and from the presumed maintenance costs. It will pay for itself over nineteen years,” Commissioner Beauchamp said.
These savings can help the county with their budget concerns as well.
“It not only helped the budget as far as the energy savings, the maintenance costs were eating us alive before we started this project,” Commissioner Beauchamp said.
With only a few kinks to work out, the Ameresco project is close to completion. County commissioners had the option to accept the final delivery of the project at their meeting but wanted to wait for a final building inspection.