(PITTSBURGH) February 9, 2012 - Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced the start of a handful of energy-efficient building improvements to the historic City-County building that will save taxpayers $475,000 a year and create nearly 40 local jobs in the process. The $3.4 million building improvement project is made possible thanks to President Obama’s Recover Act and the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. An energy and weatherization audit was completed and identified the upgrades that would shave the most off of utility bills.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to work on the first energy efficiency improvements that this nearly 100-year-old landmark building has seen in decades,” said Ravenstahl. “Our City being chosen to receive this generous grant shows that our efforts to make Pittsburgh an even more sustainable City have not gone unnoticed. We’re grateful to President Obama for supporting our efforts to become more environmentally responsible, while saving taxpayer dollars.”
An energy-audit of the City-County Building showed that modernizing the building’s heating, cooling and electrical systems will reduce the City’s carbon footprint by 800 metric tons each year and save taxpayers almost a half-a-million annually. Beginning this month, the steam line heating system will be repaired and replaced with new lines, steam traps, condensation returns and insulation. The first and second floor will receive new energy-efficient lighting and light timers. In addition, there will be a number of smaller, but cost-effective, projects.
“All of these projects will pay for themselves in about seven years, but the upgrades will last for 20 years and beyond,” said Ravenstahl. “This means that over the course of these improvements, millions of dollars will be saved – and the work will be done by local companies, sustaining more Pittsburgh-based jobs.”
“As the owner of a local construction company, I was thrilled to learn that we were selected as the general contractor for this project,” said Mike Plavchak, owner, Plavchak Construction. “A job of this scope will result in work for 16 of my employees throughout the year, and almost 40 new jobs overall.”
Earlier today, the Mayor and Energy Secretary toured a range of research facilities at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to highlight local investments in cutting-edge energy innovations that are laying the building blocks for an American economy built to last. During the visit, Secretary Chu highlighted President Obama’s State of the Union address, where the President called for a new era for American energy, including the continued safe and responsible development of American natural gas resources.
The Mayor is proud to support the natural gas industry, which is creating thousands of local jobs. The City recently partnered with EQT corporation to purchase new refuse trucks that will run on energy-efficient and clean-burning compressed natural gas. The Mayor today also referenced other cost-saving initiatives, including the LED streetlights conversion project, and the creation of “Green Central,” a one-stop-shop for information on sustainability, located on the City-County building’s sixth floor.
“As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, we need an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy - a strategy that’s cleaner, safer and full of new jobs for U.S. workers,” said Secretary Chu. “Pittsburgh and the National Energy Technology Laboratory have a long history of advancing America’s domestic energy interests and the work they are doing today will help bring in a new era of American energy fueled by homegrown energy resources.”