Minneapolis Public Housing Authority upgrades more than 700 homes to reduce energy costs

Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and Honeywell have announced plans to implement an energy-efficiency and facility renewal program to help the housing authority mitigate utility costs, upgrade its facilities and reduce environmental impact for its scattered site properties. MPHA will use an $11.65-million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fund this program, which is expected to reduce energy costs by more than $1.5 million annually through a variety of facility improvements.

The program will impact 725 sites across the city ranging from single-family homes to multi-family buildings comprised of up to five units, nearly half of which were constructed prior to 1950. Conservation measures will include installing energy-efficient windows and appliances, replacing outdated furnaces, boilers and water heaters and upgrading thermostats. MPHA and Honeywell will also work with the Center for Energy and Environment in Minneapolis for weatherization and building envelope improvements.

The program is expected to reduce the housing authority’s annual electricity consumption by approximately 2.8 million kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power 140 homes per year on average. It also will cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 2.5 million pounds annually. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing almost 188 cars from the road.

Honeywell is currently completing upgrades under a prior agreement, one of the largest projects of its kind for a public housing authority. The work will impact more than 40 highrise buildings and 700 single-family residences, and will pay for itself by reducing utility expenses by an estimated $3.7 million per year throughout the 20-year performance contract.

In addition, MPHA and Honeywell anticipate that nearly 250 tradespeople will be employed during peak construction of the work in progress. The housing authority and Honeywell will also provide residents with opportunities to serve as paid educators and ambassadors, helping other residents understand and use the energy-saving strategies tied to the program.

Improvements under the stimulus-backed program and previous agreement are expected to be finished by spring 2011.

Published May 19, 2010