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FOLEY -- Benton County has been dealing with energy problems for years and have finally found a way to be more energy efficient.

In just a few short years the Benton County Government Center was able to reduce it's energy use saving thousands of dollars.

Benton County Property Manager Jim Whitcomb says there were two areas the project focused on.

"One focuses was on direct digital controls for our government center and the other replacing our fluorescent light bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs."

Whitcomb says funding for the project came from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, which gave them $51,000 dollars. The project was approved in July of 2010 and was finished March of 2011.

Benton County Property Maintenance Supervisor Keith Lindeman says the system has been a benefit in many ways.

"Not only are we saving money, but we are making people in the building happy and more comfortable with the temperature."

Since adding a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and replacing 4,000 light bulbs, electrical use has dropped by 32 percent and natural gas by 33 percent for a savings total of over $22,000 a year.

The entire system is computer operated by the property management team. Lindeman says the new system was a challenge to learn, overall it's an improvement.

"We had some training when we first got it and continue to learn. As a whole I think it's easier."

Whitcomb says they are very pleased with the results and will continue to use it until a better energy saving system is found.


Benton County Government Centers graph on energy savings. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)