In a move that does justice to the historic Osage County Courthouse by preserving it for future generations and improves other county buildings, government leaders have completed upgrades that are expected to reduce the county’s environmental impact while increasing the productivity and comfort of county employees and residents. The upgrades also provided economic development benefits by creating jobs for Osage County residents and others from Kansas while utilizing financing provided by local banks which purchased tax credits.
The upgrades replaced aging and failing infrastructure systems with systems that are more efficient, less expensive to operate and maintain and are more environmentally responsible.
Infrastructure improvements were also completed on county health, road and bridge, and sheriff facilities. The county will gain an anticipated $23,000 in utility, operations and maintenance savings from the improvements along with a rebate of nearly $245,000 from the Kansas State Historical Tax Rebate program.
Built in 1927 and listed on the Kansas and National Registers of Historic Places, the 24,900 square foot, three-story courthouse depended on original steam piping and radiators that had reached the end of their useful life. Leakage problems threatened the ability of the outdated systems to heat the building.
The project is funded with a performance contract, which is a model enabled by Kansas statute and advocated by Kansas officials that allows building owners to use future energy and operational savings to finance infrastructure improvement projects. It is an option for funding energy saving improvements in buildings that provides measurable business results. By managing and optimizing energy use, counties can leverage operational savings to support strategic business objectives.
Facility improvements include:
- New solar reflective energy efficient roof
- Internal storm glazing to window systems
- Lighting efficiency upgrades
- Low flow water fixtures
- HVAC upgrades
- Electrical service upgrades
- Building automation systems
- Lyndon Courthouse Renovations Aim to Keep Costs Away from Taxpayers: KTKA Broadcast (Dec, 2009)
High Efficiency Upgrades Preserve Historic Courthouse: Press Release (Dec, 2009)
- $1 Million Courthouse Overhaul Underway: Herald Chronicle (July, 2008)
- Commissioners Approve $1 Million Project: Herald Chronicle (June, 2008)
- County Selects Energy Contractor: Herald Chronicle (March, 2008)
On December 14, 2009 Carl Meyer, Osage County Commissioner, accepted the Trane Energy Efficiency Leader Award in recognition of Osage County’s commitment to energy efficiency and reducing their environmental footprint. In a broadcast on KTKA, Topeka channel 49, Ben Bauman reported:
“A county courthouse in northeast Kansas has undergone a complete overhaul. And officials say that over time, taxpayers may not have to pay a dime for the upgrades.
The Osage County courthouse in Lyndon was built in 1927. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, and has served the county well. Now, officials say, it’s even better.
“They were able to remove 29 window air conditioners and 40 tons of old roofing”, says Susan Duffy, Kansas Corporation Commission director.
“They actually addressed everything. They addressed the building envelope, the window situation, the roof situation, the electrical service, the heating and ventilation and air conditioning, the lights, the water. Everything in this building has now been modernized,” says Keven Ward, Trane Commercial Systems.
That modernization will save taxpayers money. “23,000 dollars annually in utility costs,” says Duffy.
In addition, the county is making use of nearly 250,000 dollars in energy and historical tax credits. “There was a lot of monies that came together and then it’ll be paid back. What money we are in debt to is the banks and it will be paid back from the energy savings in the future,” says 59th District Representative William Prescott.
State officials say it’s something they hope other local governments will copy. “We hope Osage County will be poster child, so to speak, for other counties to review their situation and see if they can take advantage of this program,” says Duffy.”