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 September 14, 2015 - 3:09 PM EDT
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City of Grand Rapids to Save $2.2MM through First Performance Contract Sustainability Project at Waste Water Treatment Plant

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The City of Grand Rapids, Michigan's Waste Water Treatment Plant has completed the first phase of a successful energy efficiency program with OpTerra Energy Services. The energy-focused program is aligned with the City's broader vision for sustainability and will save $2.2MM in energy costs over the next 15 years.

City of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Integrating Sustainability with Performance Contracting
Starting in 2013, leadership at the Waste Water Treatment Plant collaborated with OpTerra to achieve substantial fiscal savings through the implementation of plant upgrades focused on energy performance and expected energy escalation rates. While the development of the project was centered on improving air controls and HVAC efficiency, the City and OpTerra worked together to identify energy efficiency opportunities that would best fit the needs of the City while achieving its rigorous sustainability goals.

As part of their far-reaching sustainability plan, Grand Rapids has integrated a focus on improving sustainability outcomes as a natural extension of effective City operations and high quality of residential life. The Waste Water Treatment Plant is the first City facility that has utilized a performance contract with a concentrated focus on measuring sustainability outcomes tied to economic, environmental, and social impacts tied to building performance. From contributing to broader City sustainability targets like reducing carbon emissions by 10,000 metric tons and increasing energy efficiency and conservation at City facilities by 10%, the Waste Water Treatment Plant has used the performance contract model to fund facility improvements that showcase sustainable impact in motion – all while ensuring uninterrupted and reliable service to rate-payers.

A Groundswell of Change
The full energy program was designed and developed by a Michigan-based team of OpTerra engineers alongside City and Waste Water Treatment Plant stakeholders. The robust program includes building envelope enhancement that features energy recovery from final effluent to heat and cool the administrative building, as well as comprehensive boiler replacement and temperature and controls across separate building locations. By reducing its need for as much utility power, the City will also reduce its CO2 emissions by 2,835 tons -- the equivalent to removing nearly 600 passenger vehicles off the road every year. 

These initial energy efficiency improvements have built a foundation for the possibility of a biosolids application project on site at the plant in the next year. By first reducing energy consumption through the completed suite of energy efficiency measures, the City can now effectively scope how to harness energy capacity on site through a next phase of work.

"It has been a great experience partnering with the City of Grand Rapids to help achieve their sustainability goals across facilities, starting with the Waste Water Treatment site," said John Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of OpTerra Energy Services. "Grand Rapids is setting the bar for other municipalities across the country to show how energy efficiency improvements can jumpstart a long-term sustainability plan with multiple benefits to the environment, the economy, and the local community."

The scoping of the biosolids opportunity at the Waste Water Treatment Plant is currently underway.

About the City of Grand Rapids:
For more information about the City of Grand Rapids, visit For more information on the Waste Water Treatment Plant energy performance contract project, contact Mike Lunn, Environmental Services Manager, at 616-456-3914.

About OpTerra Energy Services:
OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that partners with universities, State, city and county Government, and school districts to implement comprehensive sustainability solutions that save money, generate revenue, improve assets, and protect the environment. Learn more at, or contact Lani Wild, Communications Manager, at 415-735-9080.

OpTerra Energy Services: Building the Sustainable Energy Economy.

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SOURCE OpTerra Energy Services

Source: PR Newswire (September 14, 2015 - 3:09 PM EDT)

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