The village of Skaneateles celebrated its new energy efficient village hall by holding a ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 3.
The building is the first net-zero energy consumption municipal building in New York state. Net-zero means the building creates more energy than it consumes due to the installation of a geothermal system for heating and cooling and photovoltaic cells.
The geothermal system uses the warmth from the Earth to handle the building’s heating, cooling and hot water needs, while the photovoltaic cells create more electricity than the building consumes. The extra power then is added to the village electrical grid, saving residents money on their power bills.
Several speakers at the event stressed that the energy-efficient and environmentally friendly building will serve as an example and a showcase for other communities and municipalities.
“This building will allow us to be a leader and an educator to visitors and the community alike,” Mayor Marty Hubbard said.
“This village has become a model for energy efficiency,” Tom Barone, Director of Energy Efficiency Services at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said. “It will serve as a road map for future municipalities.”
The village was able to afford the photovoltaic cells in part due to a $546,000 grant it received through NYSERDA. It also received $30,000 in funding through the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board.
The photovoltaic cells produce 54 kilowatts instantaneously and are expected to reduce the village’s energy usage by 64,000 kilowatt hours annually, which amounts to an avoidance of 46 metric tons of greenhouse gas annually, according to NYSERDA.
Since moving the village offices into the building at the beginning of July, the photovoltaic cells have been installed, the front entrance and façade, including landscaping, have been completed and a TV has been installed in the main lobby that gives statistics about the building’s energy consumption and savings.
The building also has energy efficient features such as LED lights, solar tubes – which bring in natural light – and a garden watered by the building’s gutter system. The building will also soon be home to several electric car charging stations.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.