Back in 2001 Onondaga County hired Carrier to perform an energy audit on then-P&C Stadium.  Carrier provided the County with a list of improvements that would lower the stadium gas/electric bill substantially.

Not until October of 2006 did the County act on this recommendation from Carrier.  It took the urging of Chiefs Chairmen of the Board Charlie Rich and Director Al Halstead to get the County representatives to commission Carrier to once again advise the County of additional ways to save energy.

Carrier’s understanding was that the facility was open 12-months a year and that certain rooms in the stadium needed to be operational all season long.  The Chiefs informed Carrier that only the team’s 5000 sq foot office area needed to be heated during the off season (September-March).

Carrier broke down the cost of electric and gas this way:  April-August (the five months the Chiefs play baseball) the utility bill was $110,000.  During September-March (when the Chiefs season is complete) the utility bill was  $190,000.

During the baseball season, the Chiefs occupy the stadium only 50% of the time.  And in the off-season, the County books events from September through late November exclusively.

Carrier’s updated report recommended that the County could save up to $100,000, mostly during the Chiefs off-season, which would lower the total bill to the neighborhood of $200,000.

The County Parks Dept, Mr. Rich and Mr. Halstead worked tirelessly to close up the stadium before the winter began despite getting off to a late start.

The immediate benefit was that their efforts produced a savings of nearly $22,000 in December 2006 vs December 2005.  The facility used approximately half the amount of energy as in the previous December.

That trend continued through this past month, with total savings of more than $60,000 to the County taxpayer over the first four months of the program.

The bottom line is that it does not cost $300,000 in gas and electric to run this stadium. Energy controls – like shutting off the heat in unoccupied rooms for seven months – can and have reduced the bills DRAMATICALLY.

The Chiefs have made this claim since the facility opened in 1997 and the ball club paid the entire bill.  In a letter to then-Chiefs Chairman of the Board **** Ryan dated January 6, 2000, County Executive Nick Pirro informed the ball club that the County had terminated the management agreement and therefore was assuming “management of the stadium including responsibility for utilities”.  In the letter, Pirro also wrote that “there are needed improvements yet to be made including: a draped backstop net, suite area improvements such as drainage, shutdown, roadway drainage, reducing the cost of winter utilities, outfield lighting, et al.”

Well it took Nick almost seven years to get at the “reducing the cost of winter utilities”.  And it took the urging of the Chiefs to get it done.

Tomorrow we will discuss the sub-standard field lighting and why we are preparing to play an 11th season on an out-dated astroturf field.

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