Pierce County: After $6.1M remodel, Sprinker Recreation Center slashes energy use

Sprinker Recreation Center, which serves thousands of visitors every year, has won Pierce County’s “Biggest Energy Loser” award for 2012 by cutting its energy use in half, Pierce County officials announced Tuesday.

The 35-year-old ice rink underwent a remodel in 2011 that included upgrading mechanical systems, improving the building envelope, and changing out the lighting, which led to a 49.8 percent reduction in energy used last year. As a result, the facility is saving more than $98,000 per year in energy, water and sewer costs.

“The Sprinker project is a great example of how we can save resources while improving the quality of our facilities,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. “By investing in efficiency upgrades we are able to save taxpayer dollars and reduce our environmental impact.”

Two other county facilities stood out with improved energy performance in 2012.

The Chambers Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant replaced two blowers with a more energy-efficient model. The project included upgrades that allowed the equipment to be controlled and scaled back to optimize energy use. The project saved more than 1.1 million killowatt hours of electricity in its first year, which accounts for more than $40,000 in energy cost savings. This has significantly contributed to the 9.8 percent reduction in the facility’s overall energy use, according to Pierce County officials.

Remann Hall, Pierce County’s juvenile detention center, cut energy use by 8.4 percent. Many low-cost measures have been implemented in the building, such as HV/AC scheduling and lighting upgrades. These changes have saved more than $9,000 in energy costs for the county, according to Pierce County officials.

In 2010, McCarthy created the Pierce County Sustainability Plan, which included the goal of reducing energy costs in county-owned buildings by 15 percent by 2015. In the first three years of the program, Pierce County has reduced its energy use by a weather-normalized 13 percent, saving $1.3 million over the three years. The Facilities Management, Public Works and Utilities, and Parks and Recreation departments have worked together to improve the efficiency of the 58 buildings Pierce County operates, according to Pierce County officials.

The ice arena at Pierce County's Sprinker Recreation Center. (PHOTO COURTESY PIERCE COUNTY)