In 2012, Newark, Del., embarked on a multi-phased modernization project to revitalize its infrastructure with smart and energy-efficient technologies to boost conservation efforts and public services. 

Officials partnered with Honeywell to audit municipal facilities and utility infrastructure to help make the city run more efficiently. The extensive review identified opportunities for energy savings to meet conservation goals.

The audit also determined what operations could benefit from smart technologies. The process helped city officials develop a modernization plan that included several energy efficient operational improvements and infrastructure-metering projects. The photo at the right shows municipal utility crews at work in Newark, Del.

As part of the project, the city implemented smart technologies to deliver better water utility services to residents. Honeywell developed an advanced water-metering infrastructure for the city, which replaced nearly 12,000 electric meters with smart meters and 10,000 water meters throughout all neighborhoods of Newark. The new meters are connected to data aggregators in each neighborhood to enable both the city and residents to easily access utility usage information via newly developed online portals.

Smart technologies have also helped the city to better manage its available resources and public spaces. For instance, enhancements to the water utility helped to more efficiently manage field service orders and dispatch field technicians nearest to the work. In addition, the city implemented smart parking meters that accepted coin and credit payments, pushed proactive messages to residents and visitors, and collected real-time data. Information from the meters will help officials better address opportunities and challenges related to downtown parking.

As part of the city’s sustainability efforts, solar powered trash compactors were installed to divert recycling items from the waste stream, decrease waste collection costs, and cut the carbon footprint by reducing overall waste vehicle trips. Additionally, the city replaced all city streetlights with energy-saving LED bulbs for better visibility and energy efficiency. The modernization initiative was completed in June 2014.

“The project translates to better customer service and provides a progressive infrastructure that opens the door to further efficiency gains within our organization,” Carol Houck, Newark’s city manager says. “Newark now has a better handle on our customer usage and our community has an additional tool to improve conservation efforts.”

The modernization effort immediately helped Newark lower its operating and maintenance costs. The new metering infrastructure has saved $19.4 million through improved meter accuracy and operating efficiencies. It has reduced meter misreads and helped the utility better detect potential leaks early on while improving overall customer service. Reduced maintenance required for the new LED streetlighting has produced annual savings of $92,000.

Go here for more information on Honeywell.

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