ST. PAUL, MN — An ambitious performance contract has paid big dividends for the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.

MPHA owns and operates more than 4,800 apartments in 40 high-rise buildings in 21 Minneapolis neighborhoods. The facilities were in need of major improvements, but capital improvement funding from HUD was insufficient.

MPHA faced inefficient lighting, excessive water usage, and particularly older hvac equipment beyond its useful life. The Authority chose to take advantage of HUD’s “Energy Savings Contracting Program.”

Energy Masters International, a nationally accredited energy performance company and subsidiary of Northern States Power Co., was selected to increase the agency’s energy-use efficiency.

The contractor partnered with Egan Automation, Minneapolis, to handle procurement and installation of the improvements during the 18-month implementation period. The project helped cut water consumption by 44% and reduced annual utility costs in excess of $650,000 in the interim period — more than $890,000 the first year — saving the Authority more than $6 million throughout the length of the project contract.