Honeywell announced a $6 million energy-efficiency and building modernization program for the Wilmington Housing Authority (WHA) in Wilmington, Del. The program centers on a variety of facility improvements that will help the housing authority decrease energy and water consumption, and reduce its environmental footprint.

WHA, the largest provider of low-income housing in Delaware, will finance the work from the energy savings the upgrades produce. This is expected to total more than $560,000 per year. The savings are guaranteed by Honeywell over the next 12 years, so the project will not have an impact on the housing authority’s capital budget or require additional taxpayer dollars.

“Our facilities needed capital improvement and system upgrade work, but our funding for these major improvements is limited,” said Frederick S. Purnell Sr., executive director of WHA. “This program will simultaneously improve our communities, increase our energy efficiency, and save operating dollars. It will also allow us to address other needs, like vacant units, with our limited capital dollars.”

The upgrades will touch nearly 2,000 units across most of the WHA properties. This includes work at single-family homes, row homes, and mid- and high-rise buildings. Specifically, Honeywell will replace boilers to increase heating and operating efficiency; install new thermal pane windows to decrease heat and cooling loss; replace showerheads, toilets, and other fixtures to reduce water consumption; and substitute outdated lighting with new, energy-efficient lamps in residential units and common areas.

The program will also include efforts to educate and involve residents in the housing authority’s environmental stewardship. For example, Honeywell will work with WHA to provide training programs for residents to help encourage energy-efficient practices.

“We were able to bundle capital-intensive upgrades with improvements that have a quick payback to create a comprehensive, effective program,” said Marcus Henry, WHA director of development. “It will have a significant impact on the Compton Towers, Lincoln Towers, and Crestview and Herlihy Apartments in particular.”

The work is expected to reduce the housing authority’s utility spending by almost 25 percent, and cut carbon emissions by 1.6 million pounds each year. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing more than 130 cars from the road or planting 169 acres of trees.

The improvements are currently underway at Crestview, and Honeywell expects to complete all the work by the end of 2009.

“Leveraging energy savings to make infrastructure improvements is an example of how organizations like WHA can make a significant financial, operational, and environmental impact despite budget constraints,” said Kent Anson, vice president of global energy for Honeywell Building Solutions. “Honeywell has a successful track record working with housing authorities nationwide to reduce energy costs, and improve the comfort of homes and facilities.”

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Publication date:08/18/2008