Johnson Controls announced today the phase one completion of its project with Gunnison County, Colorado which included the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and LED lighting in five County buildings. The phase one improvements are the continuation of the County's long-standing commitment to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities and operations. The County has been electrifying and improving the efficiency of its facilities over many years, and the addition of PV generation is an exciting next step in a long-standing commitment to lowering the environmental impact of County operations. The project was enabled through the Colorado Energy Office.
When considering their sustainability mission, Gunnison County officials were committed to leveraging solar power to achieve their strategic GHG reduction goals. Selected for its specialized experience in solar PV technology, energy storage, lighting and structured finance programs, Johnson Controls worked with county leaders over the past year to put their plan into action. The completed solar arrays, built on six County buildings, will total approximately 308 kilowatts (kW) in provided power. Two of the sites are located on buildings which have previously been converted to all-electric heating and cooling using highly efficient ground source heat pumps. The solar arrays will directly offset the electric power needs of facilities; the County estimates solar will generate 40% of the power for the Courthouse and 80% of the power at the Health and Human Services Building.
"There is a lot of pride in Gunnison County having large-scale solar arrays provide power for public buildings, proving our commitment to being a leader in sustainability," said county commissioner Jonathan Houck. "Reducing our County's GHG emissions is a crucial part of our dedication to a greener, healthier community. Our partnership with Johnson Controls allows us to continue exploring new energy efficiency opportunities to serve future generations of Gunnison County."
By employing an ESA, the project leverages energy cost savings to help pay for the project over time. In addition, this project is supported by additional funding secured through a $497,500 grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA). These funding methods enabled the County to quickly make necessary infrastructure improvements for long-term sustainability.
"Funding from the DOLA Energy/Mineral Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) program is helping Coloradans socially or economically affected by the development, processing, or energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels," said DOLA executive director Rick M. Garcia. "It is also an incentive for eligible local governments to launch planning and implementation of renewable energy solutions that meet the needs vocalized by their communities."
"Johnson Controls has been making buildings efficient and safe for 135 years, and our obligation to deliver comprehensive, best in class solutions to our customers has never been more important," said Rowena Adams, Performance InfrastructureTM account executive at Johnson Controls. "Solar and energy solutions like the ones we've implemented throughout Gunnison County's facilities will continue to make the community a healthier place to live, work and play. These energy projects are the result of strong leadership at Gunnison County. They are an impressive force."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, phase one of this project was completed using safe social distancing practices to adhere to health and safety guidelines. Phase two of the project will be completed leveraging the same safety measures and is scheduled for completion in Fall 2020. Phase two includes building envelope improvements within the County's Blackstock Government Building and a ground source heat pump system which will dramatically reduce energy use and will make the building the County's 3rd all-electric building.
"Gunnison County has had a long-standing commitment to reducing energy use and lowering greenhouse gas emissions from its operations through energy efficiency and adoption of alternative HVAC strategies, such as ground source heat pumps," said John Cattles, sustainable operations director at Gunnison County. "The solar arrays are an exciting next step along the energy journey the County has been on. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that is able to take the vision and values set by our elected leaders and efficiently and consistently turn that into great projects and outcomes for our community."
Johnson Controls has a long history of working with local governments throughout North America to create environments that inspire and engage both residents and leaders. Through Performance Infrastructure™ projects, we have helped nearly six hundred local governments modernize equipment and building systems, improve infrastructure and energy spend, and address on-going maintenance needs.