Hattiesburg moves in a more environmentally friendly direction - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg moves in a more environmentally friendly direction

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg City leaders are looking at more environmentally responsible ways to maintain the city. A direction Mayor Johnny DuPree and City Engineer Bert Kuyrkendall have been looking to go in for quite sometime.

Larry Joe Daughtry, an energy consultant for the city said, "The city spends over $4 million a year on energy costs and more than $1.5 million on fuel."

Daughtry said the city maintains 50 old buildings, a number of parks, facilities and vehicles that they hope to make more environmentally responsible and save a few bucks on.

"Some of those are newer facilities that don't have quite as much to upgrade,but the older facilities such as community centers, older fire stations and city buildings in the downtown area have a lot of opportunities for improvements such as; lighting, air conditioning, thermal integrity and domestic hot water."

Little by little the city has replaced old light fixtures as well as switching to LED traffic signals but they are now looking to make improvements on a much larger scale.

City Engineer Bert Kuyrkendall said the first part of the project will be to choose one of four energy savings companies to come in and analyze what exactly needs upgrading.

"We sign a contract with them and they do the improvements. They make all of the upgrades, then we pay them based on the money we save from our power bill. So, to pay for this project we don't have to take out a loan, we don't have to take money out of the general budget. Basically we pay them by the energy we save over the next 15 years."

Daughtry said with an energy performance contract the city's potential savings are 25 to 35 percent, approximately a million dollars every year.

"The Mayor, the City Council, and the city employees are interested in the City of Hattiesburg setting the example in energy and environmental sustainability in the design, implementation, the equipment. Hattiesburg is a leader and they want to show that in this project."

Once a contract is awarded, the next step will involve a comprehensive analysis to look at every facility..which will take three-to-five months. City leaders say the whole project will take about two years to complete.

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