Leon County Installs Environmentally Friendly A/C

By: Andrea Candrian Email
By: Andrea Candrian Email

TALLAHASSEE - Leon County is investing millions in a new air conditioning and heating unit.

The county's already taking a hard hit from property tax cuts, but it claims this new system is a business deal it couldn't pass up.

County workers say it was time for a new system anyway, and they'd rather invest in a unit they hope saves them millions over the next decade.

A new air conditioning unit sits on top of the Leon County courthouse. It will pump cool air to both the courthouse and the county's Bank of America building across the street. It's replacing an old unit from the 1960's.

"The coolant that we're going to be using is environmentally friendly and also the updated equipment will result in a serious cost saving to the county," said Jenn Meale, Leon County's spokesperson.

The contractor guarantees the new system will save the county 144-thousand dollars a year on its electricity bill by using a third less energy.
If it doesn't measure up the company will pay the county the difference.

"In the long run it will save money in light of property tax and tightened budgets," Meale said. "It is important to look at alternatives which will save us money down the road."

The county's banking on saving more than $5 million over the next decade. The project's price tag is only a million less than that, but still the county stands behind its newest purchase, claiming it's a good business move.

"This is applicable to homeowners just as well as commercial," said Tom Brantley, the county's Director of Facilities Management. "We have much newer more energy efficient equipment that's available on the market today and that's part of what we're attempting to take advantage of by this project."

The next phase of the project puts a new boiler into the Bank of America building that will pump heat into both of those county buildings. The whole project should be done sometime this fall. In the meantime, they're using a portable air conditioner.

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