North of 96th - Lindsey

Welcome to North of 96th, your source for business news from Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. Your host, Lindsey Erdody, can be reached at lerdody@ibj.com.

County Government / Fuel / Hamilton County / Energy Efficiency / Regional News / Energy & Environment / Utilities

County hits gas on CNG pilot, shelves solar plan for now

September 12, 2014

Hamilton County’s efforts to make its buildings more energy efficient is expected to reduce utility expenses $120,000 this year—enough to cover the cost of operating a compressed-natural-gas filling station to service county vehicles.

About 10 gasoline-fueled vehicles are being retrofitted to run on natural gas, a clean-burning fuel that is cheaper than oil. Prices at natural-gas stations in the Indianapolis area range from $1.19 to $2.49 per gallon, according to CNGPrices.com.

If the weather cooperates, work on the $1.5 million county-owned fueling station in Noblesville is expected to be complete by mid-November, County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt told IBJ.

As IBJ's North of 96th reported in March, the county is testing the concept before converting its entire fleet.

Officials also were looking into the possibility of installing rooftop solar panels on county-owned buildings, but that plan has been shelved for now as other projects take priority.

“I am sure it will be revisited in the future as we continue to reduce the impact of increasing utility costs,” Heirbrandt said in an email.

The county is building the case for a major overhaul of State Road 37 from Fishers to Noblesville—expected to cost about $250 million—and has consultants studying a possible State Road 32 truck route to ease congestion through downtown Noblesville.

Officials also are working on plans to expand the Hamilton County Government & Judicial Center, keeping county offices on the historic courthouse square. That project, undertaken to ease a space crunch, is expected to cost about $20 million.

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