Penns Valley

On Centre: Penns Valley | Audit takes closer look at communities’ energy use

Officials in Gregg Township and Millheim could soon know just how to reduce energy costs thanks to a project through the Susquehanna Economic Development Association-Council of Governments.

Comprehensive energy audits are underway in four communities across the region, including the two in Centre County, through the SEDA-COG Energy Resource Center and funded by the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund.

The analysis will give the communities detailed figures on the cost of energy upgrades and estimated savings that would result from the recommended upgrades.

Gregg Township and Millheim were among 10 communities that underwent bill analyses last year as part of the project. Specific municipally owned properties were picked for detailed energy assessments.

According to a release from West Penn Power, Gregg Township Supervisor Douglas Bierly recently spent a day with technicians conducting the study as they combed through the municipal building looking for potential energy savings.

Bierly said the township spends about $50,000 annually on heating costs at the building and is looking for ways to save, according to the release. The audit will also examine the township’s equipment maintenance garage.

“The assessment report will help us prioritize energy conservation measures we need to take, and depending on the costs to implement the recommendations, we’re prepared to budget the necessary funds,” Millheim Secretary-Treasurer Sharon Heckman said in the release. “So we’re ready to take the next step and implement the findings of (the) analysis if the costs are not too prohibitive.”

Stacy Richards, director of the energy research center, said the group was able to secure cheaper inspection rates for each community by bundling the four together and by providing the company doing the work with years of monthly data on energy use in the communities.

“The first step in conserving energy and saving money is understanding the ‘how,’ ‘where’ and ‘how much’ of energy use through the delivery of a utility bill analysis, which the ERC provided to these municipalities last year,” Richards said in the release.