Ocean County Press Release

TOMS RIVER – In the coming weeks, visitors to the Ocean County Justice Complex will see work underway preparing for the installation of a high tech heat and power fuel cell that will create more energy efficient County government facilities as it reduces electric energy consumption.

"I am pleased that we are now moving into the actual construction phase of this energy plan," said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Buildings and Grounds. "This is the next important step after completing an extensive energy audit.

"We anticipate seeing a 33 percent reduction in our electric energy consumption once we have completed upgrades and changes to several of our systems," Vicari said. "We will be reducing our energy bills and installing state of the art systems in our buildings that run cleaner and more efficiently."

One of the first steps to installing the Combined Heat and Power & Fuel Cell (CHP) at the Justice Complex at 120 Hooper Ave., here, is the consolidation of the exterior electric service.

"This work will require the removal of the existing concrete from the plaza at the Justice Complex and work will begin in about 30 days," said Assistant Administrator Michael Fiure. "Access to the Justice Complex will be affected by this work. The contractor, along with County professionals and Toms River Township inspectors, has developed a phasing plan to allow for the continued access to these facilities.
"It's key the public is aware that some changes will take place in order to access the building safely," Fiure said. "We are doing all we can to make sure notification is made to the public prior to work beginning."

Fiure said now that the contractor is preparing the site for the installation of the CHP, the County expects the project to be paid for in about eight years through energy saving and incentives including $1.1 million.

Ocean County officials were notified last year that the County will receive $1.1 million in incentives from the state Board of Public Utilities for the installation of the energy efficient heating and cooling system at the Ocean County Justice Complex.

"These kinds of incentives make undertaking the energy master plan extremely worthwhile," Vicari said. "This is an important step in the work Ocean County has been doing to create more energy efficient facilities."

He noted that the Justice Complex is a multi-use facility housing courtrooms, some of the divisions of the Ocean County Sheriff's Office, jail facilities and other government functions.

The new 600 kW CHP system will generate electricity to power the facility, while capturing and using the waste heat for space heating, cooling, and water heating.

According to Vicari and the BPU, the energy efficiency measures will provide both energy and cost savings.

"The estimated annual energy cost savings as a result of this change is expected to be $383,000," Vicari said. "That is substantial savings for the county taxpayers."

The County expects to receive $330,000 from the $1.1 million incentive upon receipt and payment of the equipment.

In addition, new chillers and related equipment are currently being installed in the Justice Complex with work to be completed in November. And, there will also be upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and the installation of new energy management systems.

"All of these improvements allow for a more efficient and cost effective way to control our heating and cooling units," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little. "Ocean County taxpayers will benefit from these upgrades as we reduce our energy costs."

Vicari noted the costs for the improvements would be offset by incentives from the state.

And, he said, the money saved on energy could be reallocated to pay for additional energy upgrades. The energy audit's recommendations could reap a self-funding potential of $19.3 million, which is $1.3 million more than the amount appropriated for the upgrades.

"The original energy audit was the result of an exhaustive examination of six facilities that receive a lot of traffic both from the public and with our employees," Vicari said. "That is why they were chosen for this initial review by the BPU."

In addition to the Justice Complex the other facilities included the Ocean County Courthouse, the Ocean County Administration Building, the Ocean County Jail, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the parking garage all in downtown Toms River.

"These facilities total 1,022,775 square feet," Vicari said. "They produce an annual energy bill of $2.3 million."

The BPU's Clean Energy Program promotes increased energy efficiency and the use of clean, renewable sources of energy. The County began the process in late 2014 to participate in the Local Government Energy Audit to identify cost-justified efficiency measures. The audit results provided the Board of Freeholders with various energy alternatives that can be implemented.

"They looked at electric and natural gas usage, building architectural and engineering drawings, lighting systems, heating and air conditioning equipment and controls, roofs, windows, doorways, occupancy schedules and maintenance practices," Vicari said. "Now we are in the process of making the recommended changes and saving tax dollars."

Fiure said the County also works to lower its energy bills by participating in reverse auctions for natural gas and electricity.

The online bidding is termed a reverse auction because the County is seeking the lowest price, while during a traditional auction individuals or companies are generally looking to garner the highest price.

"The County recently held an online auction for natural gas," Fiure said. "Through this process we anticipate yet more energy savings."

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