At a time when energy costs are on the rise, the City of Dearborn is sitting in comfort due to a novel program that saved the municipality more than $600,000 per year.
The multiyear project was designed to turn the city’s 80-acre building complex, located across Michigan Avenue from the Ford World Headquarters, into an energy-efficient, sustainable municipal campus.
“There are numerous elements of the Dearborn project that, combined, make it quite unique and innovative,” says Vytau Virskus, principal of Millenium Energy Co. in Dearborn. “The Central Powerhouse and much of the energy infrastructure were built in the 1960s, and the energy costs had risen to over $1 million per year.”
To turn the tide, the company, along with Larkin Engineering in Williamston (near Lansing), utilized Millenium’s patented E-flow control system, which uses a control algorithm to satisfy a building’s real-time heating and cooling demand to deliver the right amount of hydronic energy — a water or steam heat-transfer medium — at the right time to each of the buildings and heating/cooling systems on the campus.
“This project is bringing the City of Dearborn to the forefront of municipal energy management and efficiency, and the energy cost savings alone are estimated to be upward of $600,000 per year,” Virskus says.
He adds that there are more than 1 trillion square feet of public and commercial buildings nationwide that could benefit from this type of energy infrastructure upgrade.