Program Name: Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) – Formula Grants

Contact: Scott Jarman, Consulting Engineer, Austin Energy (Email)

Federal Agency: Department of Energy – NETL

Federal Grant Name: Recovery Act – EECBG Program

Award Amount: $7,492,700

Type of Award: Formula Allocation

Programs Supported: Multiple municipal projects (discussed below)

Program Description

Austin Energy (AE) submitted a grant application for about $7.5 million in June, 2009 and received a contract award notification in December, 2009. This grant will run from December 28, 2009 to December 27, 2012 and funds the following projects:

Energy Conservation Retrofits of the Technicenter Building. The Technicenter building houses first responders including the Austin Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), warehousing for Fire and EMS, Austin Police Department offices, and the Department of Small and Minority Business Resources. The building was built in 1968 approx. and was purchased "as-is" by the City of Austin in 2005. This facility is one of the least energy-efficient buildings in the City of Austin's inventory.

High-Efficiency Exterior Lighting Retrofits. This project will retrofit exterior lighting systems to demonstrate improved performance and energy efficiency. The application of these retrofits will include a mixture of parking garage, parking lot, and roadway lighting based on the best technology for the application. Retrofits under this project included Light Emitting Diode (LED) replacements at City Hall Parking, One Texas Center, Austin Bergstrom Airport, and a few at the Town Lake Center parking garages.  These retrofits have been very successful by improving lighting quality while reducing maintenance and energy costs.

Hornsby Bend Biogas Generator: This is a renewable energy project at a waste water treatment facility. This project will replace old, unusable equipment with modern "biogas rated" generation equipment. The new equipment will produce Green Power by utilizing digester methane from the sludge treatment process without the use of fossil fuels. The result will demonstrate distributed green power generation, reduce the facility’s operating costs, and offset on-peak operation of the plant, thereby contributing to AE’s effort to avoid building new power generation plants. This project will be done in conjunction with the Austin Water Utility's plant upgrades that are being funded through the EPA's stimulus funding.

High-Efficiency Interior Lighting and Controls at Various City Facilities: This project will start with the evaluation of existing City facility lighting systems, their use, age and condition, building occupancy patterns, and the current state of technology. This process will identify opportunities to retrofit, upgrade, or replace existing lighting systems and install lighting controls to reduce systems wattages and burn-times.

Through this initiative approximately 70,000 lamps have been purchased and about 50,000 lamps have been installed in various buildings, some of which include Town Lake Center, Rutherford lane complex, APD Headquarters, City Hall, Rebecca Baines Johnson Health Building, APD North Substation, various fire stations and branch libraries, and the Technicenter building.  In addition, more comprehensive retrofits have been completed such as the replacement of high bay metal halide lighting with fluorescent at the Palmer Events Center, Millennium Youth Center, Kramer Lane Service Center, Zaragoza Technical Support Facility, Service Center #8 and many other facilities. There are a few remaining projects that are planned to be completed by October 2012.

Building Re-commissioning Projects and Communicating Thermostats at Various City Facilities: This project will develop an in-house Building Re-Commissioning program to evaluate City of Austin facilities for improved energy efficiency. The process will include use of an existing contractor and two new full-time employees. The City of Austin has an Interlocal Agreement in place with the Texas A&M University Energy Systems Lab to provide Continuous Commissioning in City of Austin facilities and for training City staff. As part of this project, ESL will perform building commissioning activities and train staff in building commissioning.

There are several projects such as the chiller replacement at the Central Library and the re-commissioning of five larger facilities that have been completed as well as the installation of small building controls. In addition, a number of smaller building air conditioners have been replaced and several building automation system upgrades at APD Headquarters have been completed.

Comprehensive Weatherization of Smaller City Facilities: Smaller City facilities include fire and EMS stations and park facilities. This project will start with the evaluation of existing conditions of such facilities with regard to infiltration, insulation levels, condition of duct systems, weather-stripping and caulking, and electric base loads. This process will identify opportunities to: retrofit, upgrade, or address existing systems and conditions; to reduce energy consumption; and to increase efficiency of the facilities identified with the greatest needs.

This project is complete.