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Obama Administration Delivers More than $36 Million to Pennsylvania Communities for Energy Efficiency Projects

Posted Sep 16 2009 9:00pm

Bensalem, PA - At a Clean Energy Economy Forum with Governor Rendell in Bensalem today, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that DOE is awarding more than $36 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support energy efficiency and conservation projects in communities across Pennsylvania.  Under DOE's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, these funds are being awarded to Pennsylvania's State Energy Office and local cities and counties to help lower energy use, reduce carbon pollution, and create green jobs across the Keystone State.

"With these Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, communities across Pennsylvania will be able to make major investments in energy solutions that will strengthen America's economy and create jobs at the local level," said Secretary Chu. "It will also promote some of the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have - energy efficiency and conservation - which can be deployed immediately. Local communities can now make strategic investments to help meet the nation's long term clean energy and climate goals."

The following cities and counties are receiving their Recovery Act EECBG awards today: Pennsylvania's State Energy Office, Abington Township, Allegheny County, Altoona, Cheltenham Township, Delaware County, Middleton Township and York. The Department of Energy is continuing to review applications and will be making awards to additional cities and counties in the weeks to come.

The EECBG program was funded for the first time by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and provides formula grants to states, cities, counties, territories and federally-recognized tribes nationwide to implement energy efficiency projects locally.  Energy efficiency and conservation projects that are eligible for awards include the development of an energy efficiency and conservation strategy, energy efficiency audits and retrofits, transportation programs, the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and installation of renewable energy technologies on municipal buildings.

Transparency and accountability are important priorities for the EECBG Program and all Recovery Act projects. All grantees have specific measures they must take before spending the full amount of awarded funding, such as ensuring oversight and transparency, submitting a conservation strategy to the Department of Energy, and complying with environmental regulations. 

Throughout the program's implementation, DOE will provide strong oversight at the local, state, and tribal level, while emphasizing the need to quickly award funds to help create new jobs and stimulate local economies. Communities will be required to report regularly to DOE on the progress they have made toward successfully completing projects and reaching program goals.

The following Pennsylvania EECBG awards are being made today:

  • PENNSYLVANIA'S STATE ENERGY OFFICE will receive more than $23.5 million to spur economic growth, while accelerating the deployment of market-ready energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in communities across the Keystone State. The state's Office of Energy and Technology Development will use Recovery Act funds to establish the PA Conservation Works! Program, which will award grants to local governments and non-profit entities that can demonstrate shovel-ready projects that promise energy efficiency improvements of at least 25 percent. To maximize the return on investment, all grantees will be competitively selected. Eligible projects include installation of energy-efficient streetlights; retrofitting of high-efficiency furnaces, boilers, and air conditioners; efficiency upgrades at wastewater treatment plants; and the deployment of renewable energy technologies on or in government buildings. At least 60 percent of the funding will be reserved for local cities and counties that are not eligible for direct EECBG grants from the Department of Energy.  These Recovery Act-funded projects will improve air quality and related environmental and health indicators; increase the security, resilience, and reliability of Pennsylvania's energy infrastructure; and are expected to generate or retain over 200 green jobs statewide.
  • ABINGTON TOWNSHIP will receive $500,400 to upgrade the energy performance of urban lighting, municipal buildings, and governmental data processing operations. EECBG funding will be used for the replacement of incandescent and mercury vapor street light fixtures with energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) equipment.  The retrofitted fixtures will be specially tagged as energy efficient, in order to raise awareness and demonstrate to the public how energy and tax savings have been achieved with Recovery Act EECBG dollars. Abington will use additional funds to conduct energy audits at buildings owned by the township and to implement the most promising improvements identified through those audits. A portion of today's award will also go toward reducing the energy consumption of data center operations within the township's central administration facility.  The upgrade to a "virtualized environment array" is expected to lower network power consumption by 50 percent. 
  • ALLEGHENY COUNTY will receive more than $8 million to undertake several initiatives to substantially improve energy efficiency, including an energy savings performance contracting program for county facilities.  EECBG funds will be used to implement energy conservation measures prescribed by an Energy Service Company following an investment-grade energy audit of county buildings. This program will accelerate the implementation of energy efficiency projects and measures in county-owned facilities by using EECBG funds as up-front capital.  Potential measures that will be implemented include lighting upgrades and occupancy sensors, HVAC controls improvements, water conservation, and boiler replacements. With this Recovery Act funding, Allegheny County will be able to significantly reduce the county's energy use while creating new jobs.
  • ALTOONA will receive $205,700 to improve the energy efficiency of urban lighting and public safety facilities. The city will convert 179 street lights from high-pressure sodium equipment to light emitting diodes (LEDs), which is expected to reduce energy usage more than 40 percent. These lights will be connected to dedicated meters, which will enable the city to confirm energy savings that resulted from the technology upgrade. Altoona will also upgrade 40 windows at its Fire Station #1, employing low-e-argon triple pane glass with foam filled frames; these windows are projected to save 10 percent off existing annual natural gas usage at this location.
  • CHELTENHAM TOWNSHIP will receive $147,400 to install efficient mechanical and lighting systems at municipal buildings. Based on previous energy audits, the township proposes to replace aging equipment that in some instances has been in service for nearly a century. The Rowland Community Center will receive a new heating plant, replacing a current system that is controlled by antiquated pneumatic mechanisms that do not allow for individual room temperatures. The Rowland facility will also be outfitted with new, high-efficiency lighting and a building automated system (BAS) that will permit heating and cooling levels to be programmed according to facility usage. A BAS will also be retrofitted at the LaMott Community Center. With these upgrades, both the Rowland and LaMott centers will be able to serve the community at reduced tax-payer cost.
  • DELAWARE COUNTY will receive nearly $3.7 million to complete several projects that will improve energy efficiency and expand renewable energy use in the county. Among its EECBG activities, the county plans to install a photovoltaic solar power generation system at the Government Center Complex in Media, PA. This system will decrease the burden on the local utility and is intended to be a model project, spurring regional interest in alternative energy.  Once implemented, it will be the largest public solar energy project in the area. Recovery Act funding will also be used to establish a grant program for municipalities within Delaware County that have requested assistance for energy efficiency projects but were ineligible for direct EECBG allocations. In looking to leverage funds, municipalities will be encouraged to partner with PECO, the electric utility serving Delaware County. The county expects its EECBG activities to create new jobs and produce substantial energy and cost savings.
  • MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP will receive $189,200 to lower the energy consumption and associated costs of its community center. The community center serves as the home of the Middletown Seniors Association, and also provides recreation and classroom space for the township's Park and Recreation Department. Recovery Act EECBG funding will facilitate the installation of a new HVAC system, which by itself is expected to lead to a 20 percent reduction in the facility's energy costs.
  • YORK will receive $190,200 to implement a Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESA) that will significantly improve the efficiency of six city-owned facilities, including City Hall, Fire Headquarters, the Sanitary Sewer Maintenance Building, and the York City Ice Arena. With Recovery Act dollars and over $2 million in leveraged funding, York will fund lighting system upgrades at all six facilities, a low-emissivity ceiling at the ice arena, thermostatic valve replacements at four facilities, building management system temperature controls at all facilities, and many other energy efficiency improvements. Over the fifteen-year life of the program, these changes are expected to achieve at least $2 million in energy savings.  These energy saving measures were previously identified by an energy audit conducted by an energy service company, and the savings are guaranteed as a part of the GESA agreement. Each year, the energy service company will provide the city with a report detailing the actual energy and dollars saved. If the energy conservation measures do not meet the predetermined savings, the energy service company will be responsible for either taking corrective action at the buildings or for compensating the city. In addition to substantial energy and tax-payer savings, it is estimated that this program will create and save green jobs locally.

For a full list of awards to date, visit www.eecbg.energy.gov .

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