Energy Infrastructure Project Supports Long-Term Growth Plans

March 11, 2021

Highlights

  • In partnership with Schneider Electric, the project includes infrastructure upgrades that will reduce electric utility costs by 40 percent
  • Establishes a sustainable “Water Reuse Plan” that will save over 28 million gallons of water each year
  • The water conservation measures were designed in response to the 2018 water shortage

Travis County announced its project with energy and sustainability expert, Schneider Electric, to streamline energy sources to curb operational costs across the county’s municipal buildings including the Travis County Correctional Complex (TCCC) and the Travis County Jail facility.

The project includes an innovative and comprehensive water system retrofit that enables the jail facilities to be more sustainable while also significantly lowering costs by reinvesting millions of dollars in operational and energy savings. The project is expected to reduce electric utility costs by 40 percent and will also replace major equipment that’s at the end-of-useful-life through the duration of the partnership.

The operation and maintenance of correctional facilities is a significant investment for counties and municipalities across the country. As a result, these buildings can often fall victim to deferred maintenance that results in expansive and expensive repairs and increasing operational costs due to aging systems. This $27.1 million project will help Travis County to battle this common issue, enabling the upgrades of their aging systems at a low cost. Phase 1 included major infrastructure upgrades and deep energy retrofits, including a new central utility plant and building to significantly reduce operational and maintenance costs while meeting future growth needs.

“The investment in energy and water conservation will not only save our resources, it will free up funds for other priority areas in the County. We also know that Texas is becoming hotter and drier. So every drop of water we can save now will stretch our water supply that much further,” said Brigid Shea, Commissioner, Travis County.

The county’s Water Reuse Plan supports the overall sustainability of the correctional facility and will save the county 28 million gallons of water per year, while also providing a significant environmental impact with sustained reductions in harmful emissions to the atmosphere.

“It was imperative to me, as soon as I took office, that we look for and embrace ways to make old buildings within the Correctional Complex function more efficiently until we’re able to replace them,” said Sally Hernandez, Sheriff, Travis County. “I’m so pleased to see positive results happening quickly and across the entire campus.”

Upon completion, the project will transform the jail into a 21st-century facility through comprehensive upgrades that will reduce operational costs, improve security, and modernize the infrastructure. These energy and operational savings can be reinvested into general infrastructure improvements to fund further county improvements and incorporate new technology systems into long-term master planning.

“The upgrades to the correctional facility are just the tip of the iceberg in what will be a revolutionary project for the county to improve the safety and security of its citizens,” said Andy Brown, Judge, Travis County. “The measures being taken at the facility are only an example of the great work to come from this project.”

Additionally, this project will provide financial benefits that accrue to Travis County including a healthy return on investment, an approximate $4 million positive cash flow and a $3.7 million net present value.

“Schneider Electric remains committed to helping its customers realize new benefits by implementing sustainable measures in their operations,” said Tammy Fulop, vice president, Schneider Electric. “We’re excited to partner with Travis County to support its long-term goals to fund the future growth of one of the country’s most dynamic counties.”

With budgets tightening, local governments are tapping into alternative funding sources to help make mission-critical changes without burdening taxpayers. Learn how to find funding for failing infrastructure without raising taxes here.

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