Houston Retrofits City Buildings to Save Energy, Protect Climate

Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 3:17 PM PDT
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Houston Retrofits City Buildings to Save Energy, Protect Climate

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HOUSTON, Texas, October 24, 2008 (ENS) - Houston is about to become the first U.S. city to retrofit municipal buildings to reduce energy and water consumption as part of the Clinton Climate Initiative. The energy efficiency improvements are projected to save enough electricity annually to create millions of dollars in savings and lower greenhouse gas emissions from America's fourth largest city.

The project also will focus on making emergency response facilities disaster-resistant and passively survivable, strengthening the buildings' capacity to maintain critical life-support conditions in the event of extended loss of power, heating fuel, or water, or in the event of extraordinary heat spells.

The Clinton Climate Initiative's Energy Efficiency Building Retrofit program brings together some of the world's largest energy service companies, financial institutions, and cities to reduce energy consumption in existing buildings.

"We're committed to making these changes and institutionalizing best sustainability practices in the way the city of Houston operates," says Mayor Bill White. "It will improve our quality of life, protect the environment, save us money, and it's simply the right thing to do."

Siemens Building Technologies has been awarded a contract to retrofit some 5.5 million square feet of city facilities.

"Siemens applauds Houston's effort in partnership with CCI," says George Nolen, president of Siemens USA. "We are committed to bringing the full depth of our experience, project management and technology to help Houston attain its goals in environmental protection."

Siemens engineers and technicians will analyze a range of sustainable and green initiatives to find the best ways to conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

"Our first priority will be to consider what improvements can be made to the City of Houston's 271 facilities, addressing energy efficiency, conservation and operational cost reductions," said engineer Issa Dadoush, director for the City of Houston's General Services Department.

Siemens and the City of Houston have just finished the third phase of an extensive multi-million dollar demand-side interior lighting retrofit program which helped the city avoid using some 5,320,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This allowed Houston officials to receive more than $250,000 in rebate dollars from the local utility, CenterPoint Energy.

The interior lighting retrofit program alone resulted in enough annual electricity savings to avoid the equivalent of emitting 2,642 tons per year of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Siemens will also be busy retrofitting the majority of Houston's traffic signals with energy efficient light-emitting diode, LED, lamps under a new contract with the Department of Public Works.

"We are doing many things throughout the city to manage our costs and save energy," said Mayor White. "Replacing traffic signals with LED lights, for example, will end up saving us millions of dollars."

In the 2007 State of the City address, Mayor White challenged the business community to join the city government in slowing energy consumption over the next three years.

"Our goal is to make Houston the energy conservation capital of the world," the mayor said. "It makes good business sense."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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