The Cherokee County Commissioners reviewed an energy audit for county buildings at its regularly scheduled meeting Monday.

The audit identified ways energy improvements could be made to create more efficient buildings and savings on utility bills. The audit and report was compiled by TAC Energy Solutions.

The audit yielded some interesting statistics regarding energy costs for county buildings. 

Joe Hurla with TAC said the new county jail did not need any energy savings. Recent boiler replacements at the courthouse were also mentioned in the audit.

"They are very similar to what we would recommend," said Hurla.

"You guys have taken some pretty good steps," said Hurla. "The central mechanical systems are in good condition."

According to the audit, the county spends approximately $62,000 a year for electricity and gas for the county courthouse and county health department building. The report stated the heating and cooling units at the county health department building are about 15 to 17 years old. Hurla explained that some efficiency gains could be made when the units are replaced.

"The technology is similar, just more efficient," explained Hurla.

Hurla added that a centralized system to conserve energy when the building is not in use, and upgrading the lighting would save more energy.

The audit suggested new windows and lighting upgrades for the courthouse.

"Windows would make a big difference," said Commissioner Pat Collins.

The audit concluded the price of the project for upgrades would be about $400,000.

Megan Welch of TAC said that financing was available for the project at an interest rate of 5 percent. Commissioner Collins suggested that TAC officials meet with the commissioners at a later date to consider if any future action needs to be taken.

In other business:

The commissioners met with Jean Pritchett, director of the Chamber of Commerce. The commissioners renewed the contract with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce for the coming year to continue funding the Chamber activities in bringing visitors to the county. The commissioners receive money through a motel room guest tax.

The rate is currently two percent on rooms in this part of the county. According to Pritchett, there are currently 50 rooms available in the Columbus area. Prichett added the money will be used for more advertising to attract tourists to the area.