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Going ‘green’ costs Town ‘green’

Farragut’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the design for solar panels to be placed on the pavilion roof at McFee Park at its meeting, Thursday, July 23.

“What we’re asking for is $5,700 so [Barge, Waggoner Sumner and Cannon] can add that to [its] design for this space at McFee Park, with the understanding these panels will not entirely run the restroom that we’re proposing the energy for,” Sue Stuhl, Parks and Leisure Services director, said.

“But it will go a long way towards helping,” she added.

The total energy consumption of the building would be about 40,000 watts, an amount the solar panels could not generate year-round.

In other words, the Town could sell power to LCUB in summer but would have to buy power to run the restrooms in winter.

“It would need more solar panels than could fit on that roof,” Stuhl said.

“It’s not a real efficient technology yet,” Alderman Bob Markli said.

According to Markli, some “green” construction ideas weren’t really as good of ideas as they seemed.

“I’m very sensitive to this, but it’s a false economy when you’re spending so much and actually creating so much expenditure of energy to accomplish something that’s going to save a little bit of energy,” Markli said.

“It’s really counter-productive,” he added.

“We’re going to spend more to engineer putting these things on there than the cost of operating it is going to be, it looks like, for a couple of years,” Markli said.

Add the cost of the panels themselves, and how “green” were solar panels? he asked.

Stuhl said the panels themselves could cost as much as $400,000.

“$400,000 for solar panels that can’t power two restrooms 24-hours a day for a year?” Williams asked.

“We were sort of urged by the former Board of Aldermen and current members to look at areas where we could sort of branch out, not only to save money but also to be pilot projects and sort of be a showcase,” Stuhl said.

“But you’ve got a good point … at what point is it worth it?” she asked.

The Board approved the design, with only Markli voting no.

Stuhl said the bid could be done with an ad-alternate, meaning if the Town decided installation of the panels was too cost-prohibitive, it could opt out.

In other business, the Board:

• Approved an amendment to the TDOT contract for the Campbell Station Road project. The amendment lists the American Recovery and Reinvest-ment Act funding the project received.

• Approved, on first reading, an ordinance to amend Farragut Municipal Code to allow for automated red light enforcement

• Approved a proposal for $27,125.00 for surveys at McFee Road to re-plat and amend right-of-ways following the Town’s roadwork.

“We’re putting them back to where they were before we built the road,” Town Engineer Darryl Smith said.


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