Making Light Work of Stimulus Spending
Austin Energy targets city buildings for energy efficiency measures
Major city buildings are about to become more energy-efficient, thanks to a $7.5 million stimulus fund grant awarded to Austin Energy. The planned projects will save enough energy to power 400 homes year-round while reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and generating about 100 "green" jobs. The Palmer Events Center is getting $105,961 in new high-efficiency lighting that will save an estimated $21,500 a year in energy costs. That would translate into a payback after about 4½ years, but since the feds are footing the bill, the city starts saving right away. Six other municipal buildings, including the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex, will also undergo lighting retrofits in the next few weeks. While the electricity saved at Palmer alone can power 22 average homes annually, updates to all seven buildings will save enough to power 50 Austin homes. Next, the city will begin reducing energy consumption in other ways at eight more buildings, including the Carver library and museum complex, the Mexican American Cultural Center, and the John Henry Faulk Central Library. Altogether, up to 16 buildings will be "optimized" to save the city nearly $400,000 a year in energy costs.
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