In Mayor Kenney’s budget address on March 3, he outlined plans to invest in community infrastructure and city-owned buildings, including investments in energy efficiency. With the potential for more energy efficiency projects on the horizon, we wanted to share more about the Quadplex Guaranteed Energy Savings Project (GESA), which could serve as a model for future investments.
The project, enabled by the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA), uses the savings from increased building energy efficiency to pay for retrofits and other upgrades. Energy savings realized through a GESA project are allocated to project repayment, and the remaining savings can be used for other municipal programs.
City Hall, the Municipal Services Building, One Parkway Building, and the Criminal Justice Center — collectively referred to as the Quadplex — are among the City’s largest energy users and were selected based on their energy savings potential.
In late 2009, the City selected the energy service company Noresco to complete an energy audit, develop energy conservation measures (ECMs), and to manage implementation. The City chose high payback energy conservation measures that produced a project with positive cash flow, strong environmental benefits, and improvements to tenant spaces. This work resulted in facilities that are easier to operate and more comfortable for workers and visitors.
Many of the upgrades are invisible to building users. These include improvements to boilers, steam pipe insulation, and HVAC drives and filters. In addition, the City has adopted new building control systems. These systems include web-based software that allows city staff to remotely monitor and manage HVAC systems in real time. Increased capacity to control HVAC is particularly important because building heating and cooling account for between 50-60% of Quadplex building energy use.
Some of the Quadplex upgrades are more visible to building users, such as the installation of low-flow water fixtures. Visitors to City Hall who look up while in main building entrance vestibules can now see new LED lighting.
The results of the Quadplex GESA Project thus far are overwhelmingly positive. The City saved approximately $2 million in utility costs during the construction phase and received over a $1 million in rebates for the project. Going forward, the City expects an annual cost savings of about $1.45 million. All bonds used to fund the project will be completely paid for in 15 years.
For more information on the Quadplex project, you can check out our Quadplex case study.