Energy Manager

City of Houston kicks off $23 million energy efficiency project

The city of Houston is launching an ambitious $23 million project designed to improve energy efficiency, operations and comfort in 19 city facilities. The project is a continuation of Houston's participation in the Clinton Climate Initiative Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit Program, a landmark effort to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings in major cities around the world. The Clinton Climate Initiative is a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation and is assisting the city of Houston in identifying, designing and implementing large-scale energy efficiency retrofit projects. Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, will be completing the work as a performance contract, the second with the city.

Schneider Electric guarantees that Houston will save $1.8 million annually over the 15-year contract when the second phase project is completed in August 2011. This is in addition to the $719,513 guaranteed annual savings from a $9.6 million performance contract implemented by Schneider Electric in 2009. The phase one enhancements, involving seven city buildings, are scheduled to complete this spring.

In this new phase, Schneider Electric will implement numerous energy conservation measures (ECMs) in facilities that include Houston's city hall building, municipal courts, police headquarters and academy, water purification plant, and two branch libraries, measuring 1,649,000 square feet in total. These include central plant improvements, adding or updating building management systems, installing new and upgraded heating ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment, retrofitting existing lighting fixtures to new, efficient fixtures, adding lighting controls, and installing new, water-saving plumbing fixtures.

"The city of Houston has been pleased with the results from our first performance contract with Schneider Electric, and we are ready to step up and do even more," said Issa Dadoush, director of General Services Division, city of Houston. "This large-scale project will have a tremendous impact in reducing the city's energy consumption and its emission of greenhouse gases and is a testament to our commitment to being a more sustainable city."

Performance contracting offers many long-term benefits for cities, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. Schneider Electric guarantees the amount of savings performance contracting projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.

"Once completed, the city of Houston will experience measurably less energy consumption, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, significantly lower operating costs, and shrinking carbon footprints for city buildings," said Jeff Drees, president, Buildings Business Americas, Schneider Electric. "Schneider Electric's energy professionals have unmatched expertise in delivering cost-saving projects across business categories that help our customers achieve more with their energy while using less of our natural resources."

The positive impact on the environment resulting from the city officials' dedication to reducing energy consumption will include decreasing annual emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere by 5,831 tons, which is equivalent to removing 1,166 cars from the roads for a year or planting 1,586 acres of trees to help restore the ecosystem balance.

April 26, 2010  By Newswire

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