MINNEAPOLIS - Honeywell has announced a $25.1-million energy efficiency and conservation program for the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh (HACP). The program, which combines traditional facility retrofits with geothermal technology, will help the housing authority upgrade its communities, reduce its environmental footprint, and save approximately $3.2 million in utility costs per year.

HACP will use those savings - guaranteed through a 12-year performance contract with Honeywell - to finance the improvements. As a result, the project will not impact the authority’s capital budget or require additional taxpayer dollars.

The work is expected to have a significant environmental impact as well, cutting annual carbon emissions by nearly 16 million pounds. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this is the same amount of carbon dioxide generated each year by the energy use of 640 single-family homes. The reduction is also equivalent to removing more than 1,300 vehicles from the road.

“The ability to manage our housing stock in a way that works to save the environment, reduce costs, and increase efficiency is a radical shift,” said A. Fulton Meachem Jr., executive director of HACP, which serves more than 20,000 Pittsburgh-area residents and is the largest public housing authority in Pennsylvania. “And we’re approaching this project and partnership with Honeywell as just the beginning of our conservation journey. We will all benefit from this effort and we are energized by the possibilities to come.”

The focal point of the program is the installation of geothermal HVAC systems that will take advantage of the earth’s natural heating and cooling to improve comfort and reduce energy consumption at the housing authority’s Northview Heights, Homewood North, and Arlington Heights mid-rise apartment buildings.

The geothermal systems will heat and cool the facilities via wells drilled more than 300 feet into the ground. This will significantly reduce natural gas consumption at all three facilities, resulting in utility savings of more than $800,000 annually.

“Like many organizations, HACP wanted to cut energy costs and leverage renewable resources, but didn’t have a clear path to that end,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “So we worked with the housing authority to pinpoint the right mix of technology to maximize the program’s financial and environmental benefits.”

The geothermal installation will replace existing gas-fired furnaces at the Homewood North and Northview Heights facilities. At Arlington Heights, Honeywell will reconfigure a central gas-fired boiler plant to incorporate a geothermal system that leverages the plant’s existing piping.

HACP will also harness energy from the geothermal systems to pre-heat domestic water supplies in each apartment unit, cutting the amount of natural gas needed for hot water. In addition, the systems will enable the housing authority to provide central air conditioning at all three sites and remove existing window units.

Along with the geothermal installation, Honeywell will improve traditional HVAC systems; install new boilers; seal buildings to reduce the loss of hot and cool air; retrofit existing fluorescent lights with energy-efficient fixtures; upgrade plumbing systems for improved water conservation; and replace refrigerators in several facilities with high-efficiency Energy Star® models.

Honeywell plans to involve residents of HACP communities through energy awareness workshops that will provide education on energy conservation practices. It will also provide employment opportunities to residents as part of the project. The company expects to install the geothermal systems and complete the other upgrades by fall of 2009.

For more information about Honeywell Building Solutions, visit www.honeywell.com/buildingsolutions.

Publication date:10/27/2008