The village of Medina, N.Y., is setting the example for its community by striving to become net-zero. The village’s first step was to tackle its largest energy consumer—the wastewater treatment plant. Detailed studies were performed and funding was established to reduce the energy consumption at the wastewater treatment plant. These energy saving strategies include:
- A 43kWe/79kWth Stirling Biopower combined heat and power co-generation unit using anaerobically digested sludge in order to produce methane gas;
- A 120-kW solar PV system; geothermal effluent-powered heat pump for heating and air conditioning;
- High-efficiency lighting upgrades, including LED outdoor lighting;
- A green roof using modular pregrown panels; and
- A rainwater harvesting system with on-demand pumping.
As with most communities, limited funding is always a challenge. The village applied for and subsequently received 90% of the funding toward the project from the Green Infrastructure Grant Program, which is administered through the Environmental Facilities Corp. One of the greatest challenges was having only four months to completely design, bid and obtain signed contracts in order to obtain grant funding. To add to the complexity, three other projects received the same funding and consisted of a similar scope of work. According Ram Shrivastava of Larsen Engineers, other project challenges included:
- Working with the local energy suppliers and coordinating the interconnection of both the solar PV and co-generation units;
- The existing roof structure had to be structurally reinforced to hold the additional weight of the solar panels;
- Coordinating the manufacturing and installation of the proprietary co-generation equipment in order to meet the grant completion date;
- Meeting Buy American requirements;
- Meeting M/WBE goals; and
- Monthly reporting and tracking required for the use of stimulus funds.
Project start date was January 2010, and it is scheduled for completion in December 2010.