The city of Washington will seek qualifications from firms to conduct an audit in order to pursue energy-saving projects.

The city council Tuesday, Sept. 5, agreed to form a committee to hear qualifications from firms to see what projects exist in the city that could be funded by energy savings.

The council approved the measure with a 6-2 vote. Councilmen Greg Skornia and Mark Hidritch voted against the motion.

In 2014, a similar committee heard presentations from firms to provide energy savings for city projects.

At that time the committee heard requests for qualifications (RFQs) and recommended Ameresco, Inc. Hidritch said the city should allow for that company to follow through with its proposal.

“They gave a lot of time working on this,” he said.

Hidritch added that the administration at the time did not follow through with the recommendations.

Councilman Steve Sullentrup said the city should hear updated proposals.

“Since 2014 the city did a lot of work already,” he said. “It wouldn’t be fair to anybody if we didn’t get proposals.”

“I feel we should start over with RFQs,” added Mayor Sandy Lucy.

City officials resumed energy savings talks after the administration/operations committee meeting was presented a plan by Trane in July.

Under a proposed agreement, the city would sign a performance-based contract with Trane for 15 years. The project would be financed over the 15-year term of the deal and would require no upfront capital.

Under this method, the risk is shifted away from the city because Trane would be guaranteeing rates.

At the meeting, Hidritch said the city should contact Ameresco and see what plans it has for the city.

Last week, City Administrator Darren Lamb said he reached out to Ameresco representatives who stated they would again meet with city officials.

He noted it was a good idea to consider an energy audit as the city prepares to discuss capital improvement projects this fall before citizens vote on the extension of the half-cent capital sales tax.

Trane Proposal

A representative with Trane said possible projects include lighting upgrades, HVAC replacements, or renewable energy alternatives.

The next step by Trane would be to gather information on city buildings. The city doesn’t have to commit to any projects, but Trane can provide a look at what type of projects could be available.