The WRC Weatherization Project Results are In!
From 2010-2012 with the help of both state and federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), the WRC’s Energy Committee distributed funding to successfully complete fourteen energy audits and nine weatherization retrofits for municipal and county buildings. Almost all of the weatherization retrofits included a combination of insulation improvements and air sealing. Some projects included additional work such as removing excess attic hatches, replacing dial thermostats with programmable thermostats, and upgrading electrical fixtures to more efficient bulbs.
As of the results collected in February of 2013, the towns that had completed weatherization improvement projects in 2012 had seen at combined total of $8,770 in savings. This equates to an average of about $1,250 per project in 2012. These projects also saw a total energy savings of 352 MMBTUs for 2012, or a reduction of 58,312 lbs of CO2 that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere. Put another way, this savings is equivalent to planting about 2.75 acres of forest for the year.
Based on the results of these projects, the WRC is currently seeing a 10.6% return on investment for the total cost of these projects, with an average payback period of about 9.5 years. It should be noted that these savings continue even after the payback period is reached, such that after the original investment is paid off, each project will continue to save the town money for many years into the future. Additionally, the payback period is calculated at the current cost of energy, and will decrease as energy costs continue to increase.
Of these projects, the two best performing weatherization improvement projects were the Newfane Town Offices and the Weston Town Garage. For the 2010 heating season, the Newfane Town Offices had used 1,453.5 gallons of fuel oil for heating. After the weatherization improvements were completed, the Newfane Town Offices reported using 679.6 gallons of fuel oil for heating during the entire year of 2012. Adjusting for heating degree days (or the variation in winter temperatures), this equated to a 49.3% improvement in fuel oil usage. This improvement outperformed the auditor’s estimate of a 40% improvement in energy usage. This improvement in energy use equated to an annual cost savings for the town of $2,648 for 2012. At this rate, the payback period for this weatherization project will be less than four years.
The Weston Town Garage also saw a significant improvement in heating costs after their weatherization improvements were completed. During 2010, the building used 1,239.2 gallons of fuel. Post-weatherization improvements, this building used 803.3 gallons of heating fuel during 2012. Adjusting for heating degree days, this meant a 31.8% improvement in fuel oil usage for the building. This project nearly tripled its expected annual cost savings, with a total annual cost savings of $1,465 for 2012. At this rate, the project has already paid for itself!