SARANAC LAKE - Community Energy Services joined elected officials and representatives from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) April 10 to introduce the state's first Energy Smart multi-family building.
The building, owned by Susan and Tim Abresch and located at 135 Broadway, recently completed renovations that reduced overall energy use by 27 percent. Energy Smart's Multi-family Performance Program aims to reduce energy usage in apartment buildings containing five or more units.
Community Energy Services executive director Louise Jensen said the accomplishment is even more noteworthy because the Abresches committed to the project two years ago.
"The green revolution hadn't really caught hold then," Jensen said. "This couple was ready and willing to take on this project ahead of the curve."
The renovations will save the Abresches approximately $7,400 a year in utility costs. The building houses a retail shop, the Wearhouse on the first floor and 13 apartments.
"This is a very exciting day in Saranac Lake," said Assemblywoman Janet Duprey. "Congratulations to Tim and Susan for what they've done here."
Duprey said the owners should be credited for taking on a project of this nature in a village known for being one of the coldest places in the continental United States.
"If it will work in Saranac Lake it will work anywhere in the state of New York," Duprey said. "It's a great example of private enterprise working with state agencies and the local village government to accomplish a tremendous feat and to bring a huge development into Saranac Lake. And it's only the beginning."
Jensen said the building provides a model for property owners seeking to reduce energy costs. The project's completion will also inspire people to meet the state's goal of reducing energy consumption by 2015.
"The completion of this project demonstrates how our communities can achieve these goals," Jensen said. "This is an outstanding example of how energy conservation and economic development can go hand-in-hand to revitalize our communities."
Incentives for Energy Smart facilities will also provide a boost to similar projects. NYSERDA president and CEO Francis Murray Jr. noted that the total cost for renovations for the Abresches was $44,430, with the duo receiving NYSERDA credits totaling $31,000.
"The Multi family Performance Program is a one-stop shop that allows buildings, such as 135 Broadway, to reduce their energy costs while improving comfort and maintaining affordability for the residents," Murray said.
Saranac Lake village Mayor Tom Michael said the renovations make a significant difference for the tenants, the commercial landscape and the streetscape of Saranac Lake. He says the building's owners are on the forefront of the effort to make Saranac Lake a leader among energy smart communities.
"The recognition of having the first building in New York State is tremendous for Saranac Lake," Michael said. "It helps us in all future projects we're doing and for future grant requests. Certainly, it puts us in the pile of communities known to be forward thinking and to be energy smart, that has a tremendous amount of importance to a small community like Saranac Lake."
Susan Abresch said she is overwhelmed by the response from the community, and happy to give property owners the confidence to try programs like Energy Smart.
"This was the real deal and with Community Energy Services, you do get the money back from the state and for that to be effective is really wonderful," she said.
Along with the utility savings, the building also received upgrades to its boiler system and temperature control unit. Contractors also installed a high-efficiency domestic hot water heating system, energy-efficient lighting upgrades, replaced windows and put in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.