This week in energy efficiency news…
Duke Energy and the National Theatre for Children awarded $2,000 each to schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky for energy efficiency achievements. Schools received awards for having the highest total number and highest percentage of students whose families completed and returned home energy surveys during the 2012-2013 academic year. To promote the program, Duke Energy partnered with the National Theatre for Children to offer live and interactive in-school programs for kindergarten through eighth grade students. The programs provided information about energy, resources, and how and why students can use energy wisely. Every student received a workbook of project-based assignments, including take-home work designed to engage parents. Parents were encouraged to order a free energy efficiency starter kit that includes a variety of devices that immediately begin saving energy once installed. More than 72,000 kits have been distributed to Duke Energy customers since the program began in 2011. In addition, Energy Education in Schools’ performances reached more than 766,000 students in more than 1,900 schools in North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and Kentucky.
The Village of Skaneateles and NYSERDA announced the grand opening of the first municipal net-zero energy building in New York State. The Skaneateles Village Hall, formerly a vacant fire station, will now house new village offices and a police station. The village was awarded $546,000 for the energy efficient building improvements by NYSERDA through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development initiative. Expected to produce more energy than it consumes, the $1.5 million project will annually reduce energy usage by more than 62,000 kWh and greenhouse gas emissions by 46 metric tons. NYSERDA installed a geothermal HVAC system, renovated the building envelope and installed efficient lighting and a 54-kW solar PV system on the roof.
Ameresco has signed a $63.6 million energy savings performance contract for the University of Illinois at Chicago. The project is expected to save the university more than $1.8 million in avoided energy costs annually over 20 years through energy efficiency and infrastructure upgrades. The upgrades will be done in the Science and Engineering Laboratories Complex, which has four teaching and laboratory buildings and a supporting office building. Ameresco expects the project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 9,219 metric tons, the equivalent of taking 1,921 cars off of the road or planting 71 acres of trees. The project will take an estimated two years to compete; it will include infrastructure upgrades as well as energy conservation measures, such as re-commissioned air handling units, HVAC control systems and equipment, chilled beam, new high performance fume hoods, lighting retrofits, weatherization of building envelope, and the installation of energy recovery systems.
The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has selected NORESCO to lead a $30 million energy makeover at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown, Conn. The comprehensive energy retrofits, to be paid for through future guaranteed energy savings, will bring much-needed and highly efficient energy systems and equipment to the CVH campus. This is the first project under Connecticut’s new standardized energy savings performance contracting program, which allows state agencies and municipalities to enter into performance contracting agreements with energy service companies. These contracts enable agencies and municipalities to upgrade facilities and reduce energy costs, while creating jobs and driving investment in Connecticut’s economy.
In Massachusetts, the Hogan Regional Center and the Wentham Developmental Center, which serve adults with intellectual disabilities, have saved $3.2 million in energy bills and reduced emissions 58 percent since 2011 through energy efficiency improvements. The buildings received high efficiency boilers, new lighting, better insulation, better building controls, solar hot water and solar power generation. The $25 million project was funded through a variety of sources, including more than $20 million in Massachusetts-issued clean energy investment bonds that will be paid for through project savings, a $128,000 solar thermal grant, more than $1 million in utility incentives, and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The retrofit is part of a larger push for energy efficiency by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. The state was number one last year for energy efficiency in a ranking by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.