January 4, 2010
City to get $7.5 Million to Increase Energy Efficiency of Buildings
The City of Austin has been awarded $7.5 million in federal stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Austin Energy will manage these funds to improve the energy efficiency of City of Austin municipal buildings and facilities.
Austin Energy will work with other City departments to get the work done, including the Austin Water Utility, Police, Fire, and Parks and Recreation.
The energy-efficiency projects Austin Energy has identified could save more than 5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power 400 homes year round. The work involved in completing the projects will generate an estimated 100 green jobs and also reduce carbon and other emissions.
The energy efficiency projects include:
Installation of interior lighting upgrades and lighting controls. Occupancy sensors that shut off lighting when space is unoccupied and day lighting controls that utilize natural light to save energy will also be installed. Similar projects have been implemented by the City in the past, but funding was limited. Large scale implementation with the federal funding will result in significant energy savings and carbon reductions.
Replacement of two aged, biogas/diesel generators at the Hornsby Bend sludge treatment facility with modern biogas generation equipment to create renewable energy from methane. The project includes an option to size the equipment larger than required for the facility to increase the amount of renewable electricity used by all Austin Energy customers.
Retrofit of exterior lighting systems with new technologies such as Induction and Light Emitting Diode (LED) at surface parking lots at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and parking garages such as Austin City Hall. LED lighting technology can reduce the carbon footprint of parking garage operations by more than 50%.
Installation of a thermal energy storage system to create chilled water during “off-peak” hours for air conditioning and reconfiguring water and heating systems to reduce running boilers for hot water at the Technicenter Drive building located in East Austin. Improvements to the hot water system alone will reduce natural gas consumption by more than half.
Increase insulation, seal ducts and make other energy improvements at older medium to small facilities such as Fire and Emergency Medical Services stations and Parks facilities. About half of the 44 fire stations need weatherization.
Optimize performance of HVAC systems by reprogramming and/or recalibrating equipment and making repairs where necessary. This also includes installing programmable thermostats that communicate remotely and reduce energy use. Austin Energy has identified 16 facilities for energy system optimization that will save as much as $400,000 a year in energy costs.
Austin Energy provides electric service to about 8 million square feet of City of Austin building space. The Austin Energy Municipal Energy Program works to improve energy efficiency in these buildings and facilities and over the last 25 years has saved Austin customers and taxpayers both operating and capital costs. Since its inception, the Municipal Energy Program has reduced peak demand by 11 megawatts and saved more than 46 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, enough to power more than 3,800 homes year round.