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Morris exploring ways to save energy

An energy services company has offered to see whether there are more ways the city of Morris can save energy.

Representatives from Energy Systems Group and Performance Contracting and Services presented to the city’s Finance and Administration Committee on Thursday.

The companies look at existing facilities, such as public schools and municipal buildings, review their systems and see whether there is a way to save energy and therefore money.

They look at interior and exteriors, infrastructure systems, heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and other energy uses, Marion Kotecki of Energy Systems Group said.

“We take a very holistic approach,” he said.

Charles Silverstein of Performance Contracting and Services told the committee he sees that the Morris Municipal Services Facility is new and asked about the city’s other facilities.

Mayor Richard Kopczick explained the city has a proactive approach to trying to find ways to save money and energy.

He explained Morris was one of the first of 18 communities to take part in an aggregation program, and is now looking to get the city’s pool electric through this as well.

In May, the council approved going forward with the use of Northern Illinois Municipal Electric Cooperative again to find the city’s electric supplier. In April 2011, a referendum passed to allow the city to take bids on electricity supply for the city’s residential and small commercial use through an opt-out program.

People receive their electricity bills from ComEd because ComEd is still the distributor, but now the city tells ComEd from where to get the electricity.

By bidding for the pool’s power, the city could save $1,700 to $2,500.

Kopczick pointed out additional energy-saving projects the city has done and is doing, including looking to do a study on the city’s decorative street lighting to possibly switch them all to one standardized, more efficient lighting. In addition, they are looking to make the airport’s runway lights LEDs once the runway expansion project is complete.

“I’m not saying there are not places we can’t probably find things, but we want you to know we are looking, too,” Kopczick said.

Kotecki said if they move forward and can find more energy saving methods for the city, it would be great to save it even more money.

“It would be fun to learn a little bit more,” he said.

Kopczick agreed if they could find something that would benefit the community it would be worthwhile.

The companies are going to talk with their engineers to see if there were other areas they could assess for the city and are going to be in touch with the mayor.

There is no cost to the city for an assessment. The committee took no action on the introductory presentation.

In other business, committee chairman Bill Martin asked where the city stood on making water bill payments through an online system.

Kopczick said they are still in the process of upgrading the software that goes with making this possible. Eventually residents will be able to pay online by check or credit card.

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