The South Suburban Park and Recreation District (SSPRD) in Centennial, Colo., has completed energy retrofits at 21 buildings across the district. The upgrades program is projected to save $392,000 in annual utility and operational costs. 

In 2013, SSPRD selected HVAC consultant McKinstry to perform an energy audit of buildings under an energy performance contract. The audit identified $5.7 million in energy retrofits, capital improvements and other upgrades to reduce the district’s utility expenses and carbon footprint. The project team and SSPRD are marking completion of construction this month. 

SSPRD also leveraged a one-time utility incentive of $215,000—paid directly to SSPRD by Xcel Energy and Denver Water—to implement several measures. Those include boiler and chiller upgrades and replacements, LED lighting retrofits, water conservation measures, building envelop improvements, new building automation controls and more. 

Moving forward, these measures will lower energy use overall—in some buildings, by up to 49%. In addition, SSPRD purchased 725 solar panels in two local solar gardens to further offset the district’s energy use. To date, the solar panels have produced more than 588,398 kWh of energy and $342,574 in cost avoidance. 

“These upgrades not only help the South Suburban Park and Recreation District stretch its energy dollars but will also provide a healthier, more comfortable environment for staff and visitors for years to come,” says Chris Larocque, McKinstry’s vice president for the Rocky Mountain and Inland Northwest regions.

A new energy management system, plus McKinstry’s powerED—a behavior-focused program for SSPRD staff aimed at generating awareness about how their actions influence energy efficiency—are expected to yield $107,184 of the $392,000 in annual savings.

The energy-management system will help integrate HVAC equipment and 22 electric and natural gas meters into the same energy tool. That allows SSPRD to track and respond to issues that affect comfort and energy performance.

As part of this project, SSPRD’s Sustainability Committee has engaged district staff through powerED. Now in the second year of a three-year program, close to half of all staff have signed up for powerED’s online “People.Power.Planet” campaign account. Activities range from a “sustainable-selfie” challenge to a tour of a recycling facility to a printer consolidation challenge.

Other powerED highlights include ongoing commissioning of district facilities, adjusting guest and conference room thermostats at the district’s Lone Tree Golf Club and Hotel. That allows for additional energy savings while maintaining guests’ comfort and making sure that the television and monitors in the district’s administration building are turned off at the end of each business day.