“I really don’t want to get into a district energy policy with non-government people,” County Board Chairman Matt Flynn said.
A district-energy system typically involves buried hot and cold water pipes used to heat and cool multiple buildings in a defined area.
While the city and county currently share steam energy provided by the county’s Waste-to-Energy facility, plans for a revamped system have included discussions with the Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency.
“I’m leaning to go with everyone building their own,” Flynn said during a recent meeting of the county’s three-person Administrative Committee. “It’s way less cost.”
Mat Miller, the county’s director of facilities and building operations, said estimates show building independent standalone systems would cost $10 million to $12 million for the six buildings served by the current steam system.
Building a new district system to serve the same buildings is expected to cost at least $13 million, depending on the fuel source and design.
Committee members Jim Bier and Stephanie Podulke agreed with the go-it-alone approach, citing a history of public-private efforts involving the city that have not gone as expected, including the Rochester City Council’s recent decision to delay a potential transit development using county land.