Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Allegheny County Facilities Go Green(er)

Allegheny County will spend 14.2 million dollars to upgrade its largest facilities—the jail and the four Kane centers--to achieve $2 million in annual utility cost savings, plus a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The county qualified for a $5 million grant from the Department of Energy and $9.4 million in low-interest (less than 3%) financing from the federal stimulus package.

Public Works Deputy Director Philip LaMay says NORESCO, an energy service company, performed a detailed audit of electricity, steam, natural gas and water usage and has contracted to perform retrofits to improve energy efficiency. If projected savings don’t materialize, the company will make up the difference to the county.

According to LaMay, annual emissions of carbon dioxide will be reduced by 4.6 million pounds; nitrogen oxide, by 188 pounds; and sulfur oxide by 1400 pounds--reductions that will go a long way toward meeting the sustainability goals outlined by County Executive Dan Onorato.

Work at the jail, which will save $800,000 a year, says LaMay, will be completed by the end of the year, with projects at the Kane hospitals wrapping up over the next year.

In addition to structural improvements, LaMay says county employees will receive training in conserving energy and resources to be better stewards of taxpayer money.

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