Carrboro contracts to make Century Center more energy-efficient


By Fraser Sherman

Carrboro will spend up to $409,000 this year to replace the cooling system and digital controls at Century Center.

The Town Council approved the proposed contract with Environmental Air Systems DBA Envirotrol at the May 7 meeting. However, Council Member Randee Haven-O’Donnell expressed concern that dust and particles released by the work might harm pedestrians in the area or people eating nearby on Weaver Street. She asked if the town could add some requirements to the contract for protecting the public from particulate matter.

Carrboro’s Century Center is home to the Carrboro Police Department and the meeting place of choice for church groups, dance clubs, book clubs, and others. The center’s cooling system “is aging, inefficient, and in need of replacement,” according to the May 7 agenda package, which the public can download from the town’s online calendar. Not only does the system not meet Century Center’s cooling needs, but the digital controls are so obsolete that Century Center’s staff aren’t able to program the system properly.

The proposed upgrades not only address the current issues but also align with Carrboro’s commitment to environmental sustainability. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the town is taking a significant step towards a greener future. The city is also considering energy-efficiency upgrades for other key facilities, including the Town Hall and the Public Works complex.

Deputy Public Works Director Keith Berger assured the council that safety is a top priority during the upgrade process. The plan is to replace the controls before the current service contract expires in July. The city will replace the cooling system in the winter when there’s no need for cooling. He also mentioned that regulations require collecting dust and particulates before they escape into the atmosphere, ensuring the public’s safety.

Council Member Randy Nowell said he was confident city staff could handle the safety issues and moved to award the contract as staff recommended. The motion passed unanimously.

The council also scheduled a June 18 hearing on revising the city’s land-use rules. Last month Heather Washburn of Calico Studios asked the city for a rule change that would allow her to include a neighborhood cafe in a proposed Jones Ferry Road development. The council requested rewrites to the land-use revision ordinance, such as eliminating minimum parking. That required a second vote at a later meeting.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council also approved a resolution to increase the pay rate for Brough Law Firm from $215 to $235 per hour. It was the first council meeting with new Town Manager Patrice Toney attended her first council meeting.

You can watch the entire meeting on Carrboro Town Council’s YouTube Channel.

Fraser Sherman has worked for newspapers, including the Destin Log, the Pensacola News-Journal and the Raleigh Public Record. Born in England, he’d still live in Florida if he hadn’t met the perfect woman and moved to Durham to marry her. He’s the author of several film reference books and has published one novel and several short story collections.
This reporter can be reached at

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1 Comment on "Carrboro contracts to make Century Center more energy-efficient"

  1. Deborah Fulghieri | May 9, 2024 at 6:11 pm | Reply

    Can the roofs of public buildings be white? I notice that commercial construction has white roofs nowadays.

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