The first phase of a city-wide project to make St. Joseph municipal buildings more energy efficient is nearly complete as final touches are finished at the Missouri Theater.
The nearly $5 million project has involved upgrades to electrical systems, plumbing, insulation, HVAC and more at multiple city facilities.
At the Missouri Theater, more than 500 lighting fixtures were replaced, the cooling system was updated for efficiency and about 20 doors were upgraded for better insulation.
Schneider Electric, the contractors in charge of the project, replaced 692 bulbs at the theater with more efficient LED versions. This includes 165 color bulbs in the chandelier above the seating area, which had to be lowered over the course of an hour via a manual crank winch.
St. Joseph Director of Public Works Andy Clements said the immediate savings should cover about half of the cost of the projects, but overall savings will outweigh it.
“By making some good, smart investments in energy savings, it’s the equivalent of kind of creating a grant for yourself. You can cut the capital costs of what it is that you’re having to replace by half, in this case,” Clements said.
The upgrades made in this first phase are expected to amount to more than $6 million, and Schneider guarantees savings for the first 15-year period, according to Clements.
He said future projects also will lead to savings, but the immediate results won’t be as noticeable.
“Phase one was really the projects that had a really, really good payback,” Clements said. “They were really attractive, I call it low-hanging fruit. There are way more projects that have really good payback, but they’re not as good as these first bunch were.”
The Missouri Theater is featuring a Robidoux Resident Theater presentation of “Elf’ this weekend.