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Courthouse panel likes energy-saving HVAC system

January 17, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The Morgan County Courthouse Energy Advisory Committee took a step forward this week.

Members are interested in using a water source heat pump system to heat and cool the new building, and the water source might come from the area springs.

The committee was formed last November to find alternative energy uses and incorporate them into the new Morgan County Courthouse building. The old building was destroyed by fire in August 2006.

Michael Wesner, the mechanical engineering vice president of Scheeser, Buckley and Mayfield, which is working with the committee and architect, Tom Potts of Silling & Silling, said the heat pump system has connecting ventilation equipment.

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To cool the building, he said the system would be reversed by a heat rejection evaporative cooling system.

He said the estimated utility cost for the alternative energy system is about $40,000 per year.

About $17,500 of that would be used to cool the building, Potts said.

The yearly utility cost using the standard heat pump system with a boiler is estimated at $78,514, Wesner said.

The estimated cost to install the energy saving heat pump system is $1,426,725. The estimated cost for the standard boiler heat pump system is $1,345,066, Wesner said.

Morgan County Commissioner Tommy Swaim said he was impressed with the costs.

"I'm surprised by these figures," he said.

The committee also was interested in using the same system with water from the springs.

Wesner said the stream water could be used and returned to the springs. The water would be "borrowed," not kept, he said.

Wesner and Potts agreed it would be a good idea to have a backup boiler system in place in case the springs' water was not available during a time of drought. Wesner and Potts agreed it would cost about $200,000.

Morgan County Commission President Glen Stotler reminded the committee there was no money available for a backup system.

"We don't have the $200,000 to grab from somewhere," he said.

"We will find the extra $200,000 for the backup system," said John Peterson, chairman of the committee

Peterson said members will look into permits and the springs' flow rates.

The next meeting is set for Feb. 15.

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