TOMS RIVER – Ocean County officials are pleased with the results of an energy master plan which is realizing substantial savings as it moves beyond its five-year mark.
Ocean County Commissioner Joseph Vicari said, “the steps we have taken to install improvements in many of the main County government buildings in downtown Toms River to improve energy efficiencies have been more beneficial than we could have anticipated.”
Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Buildings and Grounds added, “this is a 20-year plan that continues to pay for itself in savings and also environmental benefits.”
By implementing many of the measures outlined in the Energy Savings Improvement Plan, the County has received about $1.25 million in energy savings incentives in addition to the savings from reduced energy consumption.
The State Board of Public Utilities awarded Ocean County $1.1 million in incentives for the installation of the energy efficient heating and cooling system at the Justice Complex. The first incentive in the amount of $330,000 was paid in June 2019, following the County’s purchase of the system’s major components.
The second incentive in the amount of $660,000 was received on July 6, 2020. The County is waiting for the third incentive payment which will total $220,000.
“These kinds of incentives make undertaking the energy master plan extremely worthwhile. This was an important step in the work Ocean County has been doing to create more energy efficient facilities,” Vicari said.
Ocean County Assistant Administrator Michael Fiure provided an update on the energy master plan during a recent pre-board meeting of the Board of Ocean County Commissioners.
Fiure said it was “important that we have a reliable energy system to keep the power on in our buildings during storms or other incidents that can result in the loss of power. Ocean County government needs to continue to function during these times and the CHP has been doing its job while saving us money.”
The County received an additional $275,000 from the New Jersey Office of Clean Energy and anticipates an additional $200,000 from the state agency. Ocean County also saved nearly $650,000 over a 10-month period since the implementation of the energy savings program.
Vicari, who joined Fiure during the presentation, said the County has also taken numerous other energy efficient money saving steps with its government buildings including lighting replacement, installation of energy management systems, boiler replacements, chiller replacements, and hot water heater upgrades.
“By installing high tech, energy efficient systems, we are realizing the substantial savings that comes along with it. We want to make certain our buildings are powered with clean and efficient energy. These steps help save money and protect our environment,” Vicari added.
The centerpiece of the County’s energy program was the installation of the Combined Heat and Power & Fuel Cell (CHP) at the Ocean County Justice Complex at 120 Hooper Avenue in downtown Toms River.
The large non-descript white box located on the west side of Hooper Avenue is the 600 kW natural gas fueled CHP system that generates electricity to power the Ocean County Justice Complex, while capturing and using the waste heat for space heating, cooling, and water heating.
Vicari noted that the project is anticipated to generate more than 4.7 million kWh of electricity each year. “The list of improvements is lengthy but all the changes, some large, some small, have made an important difference.”
Fiure requested a one-year extension of the contract for DCO Energy, the engineering firm that developed the energy savings improvement plan noting the additional time will result in added savings and also will provide training to County staff on the energy technology that is being implemented.
“This will help us in our effort to continue to improve our energy technology resulting in lower energy bills and savings to the County,” Fiure added.