DALLAS - TAC has been awarded a $9 million performance contract with the city of Dallas to design and construct energy conservation-related projects at six city facilities. The projects will be financed through $9 million in loans from the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) and then repaid with the realized energy savings on an annual basis.

Facilities covered in the contract include Dallas City Hall, the Central Public Library, the city-owned parking garage in the downtown Arts District, a community recreation center, a branch library, and a satellite municipal center.

"This contract allows the city of Dallas to maximize energy efficiency as well as implement needed infrastructure replacements and upgrades that have been deferred or delayed due to budgetary constraints, even though the improvements are necessary and appropriate," said Dean Meyer, president of TAC Americas. Building lighting, HVAC systems, and other energy using systems will be upgraded and/or replaced as part of this contract, according to Meyer.

"Besides reducing energy costs, these improvements will enhance occupant comfort, reduce deferred maintenance, decrease the need for capital dollars, replace banned refrigerants with environmentally friendly coolants, and lower the number of hot and cold service calls in these facilities," said Meyer.

In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a model to quantify the emissions benefits of energy efficient buildings. While it is generally understood among the air regulatory community that there are air quality benefits from reducing the need to produce electricity for buildings, there has not been a way to quantify this impact.

TAC's performance contract for the city of Dallas will be one of the first large projects of this type to be measured and tracked by the EPA in an effort to document and prove that energy efficiency in buildings is a cost-effective way to reduce emissions. Ultimately, these emissions reductions will be included in the state of Texas' plan for achieving compliance with the federal Clean Air Act.

"The TAC performance contract will allow the city to comply with recent legislation mandating energy conservation; reduce operating costs; and upgrade mechanical systems," said Steven Park, director, Department of Equipment and Building Services for Dallas.

"While historically the city has annually budgeted money for facility upgrades, this has not been consistently funded in the last few years," Park noted. "The performance contract provides the city with $9 million in infrastructure spending that won't impact the operating or capital budgets or bond funds. It's a win-win deal for the city of Dallas."

Improvements include complete lighting retrofits at all the facilities; new chillers for Dallas City Hall and the branch library; a new boiler at the community center; and replacements or upgrades to the cooling towers at the Central Library, City Hall, the community center, and the satellite municipal center. In addition, TAC Vista® building automation systems will be used at all the facilities to monitor and control the mechanical systems and energy consumption.

Meyer added, "Dallas will also benefit from using TAC Vista, our LonWorks®-based building management software, for the controls in each of these facilities. Offering the benefits of an open architecture, TAC Vista combines environmental controls with facility and energy management features into a single, seamlessly interoperable open solution."

Two separate LoanSTAR (Save Taxes and Resources) loans from SECO, one in the amount of $5 million and the other for $4.5 million, will finance the performance contract. The loans are funded with grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and are administered by SECO. The LoanSTAR program is part of a statewide initiative to improve energy efficiency and upgrade equipment at public buildings across Texas.

Publication date: 02/16/2004