Harrison County looks for energy savings

Ballfields like this complex on Three Rivers Road are among the county owned facilities that will receive an energy audit.
Ballfields like this complex on Three Rivers Road are among the county owned facilities that will receive an energy audit.

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County is looking to save big money on future utility bills. The board of supervisors has hired a company to conduct an energy audit of all county facilities. It's a project that could result in substantial savings.

At Monday's meeting, Harrison County supervisors heard from the president of the company which will conduct the energy audit. Chris McNeil said his firm will provide a list of recommendations.

"This is y'alls project. All we can do is show you what is found. Based on what I've seen, utility bill wise, looking at the infrastructure, probably somewhere around a four to five million dollar project that would save the county about a half million dollars a year," he told supervisors.

The audit will look at things like lighting systems and electricity use at county owned buildings. Recommendations could range from changing bulbs to replacing entire lighting systems.

"We need to have some reasonable assurances that that money invested will bring back the savings within a period of time," said Board President Marlin Ladner.

"What's going to happen is, after today, we're going to go through and spend the next 90 days doing a full scale audit. From that, we'll be able to come back with recommendations to the county. The county's got a choice, you can accept some of them or not accept," said McNeil.

Among the county owned facilities getting an energy audit are ball fields like the one on Three Rivers Road. The large overhead lights that light up sporting events are big users of electricity. The company may suggest that updating the lighting system here is something the county could consider to save big money.

"The cost of energy is going up," said Supervisor Windy Swetman, "And so we have to take the proper preparations now, so that we have a plan as those energy costs continue to go up, that we have the type of equipment in place that will get us the best price point for the taxpayers. It's a no brainer."

The Mississippi Development Authority oversees the program which enables government agencies, like Harrison County, to hire firms that specialize in energy audits and create projects to save money on utilities.

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