Royal Oak to make energy improvements to City Hall

By: Jeremy Carroll | Royal Oak Review | Published May 25, 2011


ROYAL OAK — Royal Oak will replace hot water boilers, air-conditioning units and outdated lighting in City Hall and the Police Department as part of an energy-improvement program.

The City Commission approved spending $562,000 to make the improvements, with all but the final $132,000 coming from a grant from the federal government. The remaining balance will be paid back through energy savings.

“After an initial strategy meeting, we decided the biggest bang for our buck will be improvements to these two buildings,” said Tim Thwing, the city’s planning director.

The City Commission unanimously approved the plan. Johnson Controls will do the work and has guaranteed the city will save more than they are putting out over six years.

“We have a group that will come in and look at our performance,” said Bill Dudzinski, a project manager for Johnson Controls. “Their role is to make sure what we said we’ll achieve, we achieved.”

He said all the work is guaranteed.

“In the case that we don’t meet our guarantee, we write a check (for the difference),” Dudzinski said. “We have written some checks, but not many.”

Thwing and City Manager Don Johnson said Johnson Controls previously did similar work in the city, replacing all the traffic lights with LED lights.

“We spent a considerable amount of time to see what would be the best use of this federal grant,” Johnson said.

He said the inefficient heating system was the most obvious choice.

In addition to the heating and cooling units themselves, Johnson Controls will replace the associated piping and connections to the system. In addition, there will be changes to more energy-efficient lighting. Controls will also be placed on the vending machines so they run only during normal work hours and not 24 hours a day.

“It’s a complete no-brainer,” said City Commissioner Jim Rasor. “What’s the downside? There is none.”

In addition to the energy-efficiency improvements, the City Commission used a portion of the money to further develop a non-motorized plan. The city held workshops to develop the non-motorized plan last fall, and the results are expected to be released soon, Thwing said.