CITY OF HOUSTON FIRST CITY IN TEXAS TO USE QUALIFIED ENERGY CONSERVATION BONDS FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY PROGRAM
City of Houston Expands Its Municipal Energy Efficiency Program to Libraries
February 26, 2014 -- Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston is expanding its municipal energy efficiency program to retrofit libraries and other City of Houston facilities.
“Earlier this month, I committed to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions by ten percent by 2016,” said Mayor Annise Parker. “This project will go a long way toward helping the City reach that goal. Not only will we be saving energy, we will be saving money. It’s a double win for Houston.”
The City will be using Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to fund this work. QECBs are federally-subsidized bonds that enable state, tribal and local government issuers to borrow money to fund a range of energy conservation projects at very low borrowing rates. Qualifying projects include using energy efficiency capital expenditures in public buildings that reduce energy consumption by at least 20%. The City of Houston is the first city in Texas to utilize this financing for energy efficiency.
The City will take advantage of low interest rates provided by the QECBs. The bonds have been awarded at an interest cost of below one percent, the lowest fixed interest rate received by the City in its history.
Many of the City’s buildings are using older, inefficient lighting, mechanical systems and control systems. This project phase will upgrade systems for 18 library facilities, the Dalton Street Property Maintenance facility and the Houston Emergency Center (HEC). Overall, these measures will reduce energy, water consumption and operating costs of City facilities. In addition, the energy savings are guaranteed by the performance contract.
“Too much energy is wasted through poor insulation, leaky windows, inefficient lighting, heating or cooling systems, and poor construction techniques,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “We applaud Houston’s innovation in making city buildings more efficient, an important step toward solving our energy problems, reducing pollution and saving the city money.”
This is the City’s third phase of an energy savings performance contract for energy conservation measures with Schneider Electric. Numerous energy efficiency measures have been implemented to date including:
- Hurricane emergency power remediation/hardening of the City IT network at 611 Walker
- Critical IT area HVAC replacement
- City Hall lighting upgrade
- Critical system replacements at SW Water Treatment Plant
- Police command center reliability upgrades at 3 locations
- City-wide HVAC control systems upgrade to improve service response
- Central plant upgrades in 8 major facilities