Rooftops around the Village of Patchogue will soon be decked out in blue solar panels thanks to a new, village-wide green energy overhaul.
The Village Board unanimously supported a $5.2 million Johnson Controls sustainable energy endeavor that will, among many things, see solar panels installed atop Village Hall, Patchogue Theatre, the Department of Public Works building and the Beach Club.
Not only that, but three new electric car charging stations and a myriad of energy efficient lighting and system upgrades across the village are also part of the package.
Mayor Paul Pontieri said the Village of Patchogue closed on a 20-year loan through Sterling National Bank this past week to finance the initiative.
The comprehensive project comes as the latest climate-conscious endeavor for the village.
Since the formation of Trustee Joseph Keyes’ Protecting the Environment in Patchogue (PEP) Committee in 2015, the village created a green business incentive program, adopted New York State’s buffer in a bag program and implemented a Green Fleet initiative to only purchase electric-powered or hybrid vehicles.
Their first fully electric car of the fleet, a Chevrolet Bolt, was purchased in December for the Building and Housing Department, and Keyes said it should be making its maiden voyage on the road next week.
Dollars and sense
Keyes refers to the Johnson Controls arrangement as “one-stop shopping,” as it combines the village’s green aspirations with many energy efficient upgrades to HVAC, lighting, and temperature control systems.
The village has been exploring the market for solar energy for a few years now, according to Keyes, but it was not until he and Dennis Smith of the Business Improvement District worked together and reached out to Johnson Controls that they could form a comprehensive and affordable plan.
For any repairs to the village’s utility systems in the past, Pontieri explained that the village typically enlisted the services of the lowest builder, a collectively costly solution compared to their new contract.
“All of these are just aging, but if you do them individually without a real plan it becomes extremely expensive,” Pontieri said. “Johnson Control comes in with a plan to do it all, to help us finance it, and to help us finance at a number that’s not greater than what we’re spending at this time.”
The smorgasbord of renovation is projected to save the village $8.2 million over 25 years by resolving problems Johnson Control identified in its energy audit of the village.
“What’s going to happen in the short term is we’re going to cancel out the majority of that $500,000 dollar electric bill that we have,” said Smith, the Business Improvement District’s executive director. “And with that we’re going to improve infrastructure by upgrading some of the equipment in terms of boilers and air conditioning units and things like that.”
The plan upgrades such equipment, as well as lighting and energy efficient transformers, in the parks & recreation office, Village Hall, the Beach Club, the Patchogue Theatre and the wastewater treatment plant.
The most widespread of these infrastructure upgrades will see streetlights across the village retrofitted with LED light bulbs.
A pair of solar carports will be constructed in the rear parking lot of the Patchogue Theatre to provide not only shade, but also a projected $32,000 in annual revenue for the village.
“The carports are actually going to go back into the grid,” Pontieri said “And we’ll get a credit from PSEG for the electricity that we supply from there.”
The theatre itself will receive the most love and care of all the village sites.
In addition to solar panels, two sections of the roof and five rooftop HVAC units will be replaced and light fixtures, both inside and out, and the interior ventilation system will be upgraded.
Smith points to repairing the theatre’s roof as an example of a singular project that would have been difficult to fund without Johnson Controls
“That would have to come out of village operating funds,” he said. “Now it can be done as a result of the cost saving measures that we have with this green initiative.
“We are not only saving money but we’re improving infrastructure so that administrations in years to come will not have to do this.”
Both Keyes and Smith said the entirety of the project is expected to take approximately 18 months. On March 1, the pair, along with DPW Superintendent Joe Dean and Peter Sarich, the village’s senior building Inspector, will meet for an operations meeting with Johnson Controls to iron out the plan to move forward.
“We pretty much have a game plan, but this will finalize everything,” Keyes said.
The meeting will ensure construction and renovation does not interfere with daily life and business within the village.
Smith said the theatre is “something we’re going to put on the front burner,” since it is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pontieri noted that the project will leave a decades-long impact on the village and pave the way to a sustainable future.
“It’s about moving into this next century in a matter that takes into account global warming, takes into account costs, takes into account where we want to be,” he said. “It really is about tomorrow.
“We’re going to be a better place when this is done.”