April 04, 2009

Gillibrand, Buffalo Mayor Brown Announce Citywide Plan for $2.7 Million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

Federal Stimulus Package Funding Will Ensure Energy and Operational Savings to City-Owned Buildings

Buffalo, NY--Mayor Byron W. Brown today joined United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Steve Israel at the historic Broadway Market to announce that the City of Buffalo will invest $2.7 million from the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), which is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, into implementing a first-phase energy conservation improvements to city-owned buildings. The city currently spends $11 million annually on utilities for 145 city-owned properties (if school district properties are factored in, the cost rises to over $30 million annually).

"The city's focus of this first-phase effort of a multiple phase energy efficiency conservation program will be on shovel ready improvements to our Community Centers, Recreation Centers, and Senior Centers," said Mayor Brown. "These energy conservation improvements will include upgrades or replacement of: lighting, windows, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, energy management systems, solar thermal technologies, and photovoltaic systems. We will focus on beginning these energy conservation improvements within 90 days of receipt of these federal funds that will provide the greatest financial savings to the city and also provide the greatest impact to our residents."

It is anticipated that when these first-phase building improvements are completed, the city will have realized $468,000 in energy and operational savings in 30 of the 145 city-owned properties.

"I am proud to have been able to join my colleagues in the House and Senate in delivering this money that will put people to work and allow Buffalo to save on its energy bills for years to come," said Senator Charles E. Schumer.  "This investment in Buffalo's future is exactly the type of project we envisioned the Stimulus package delivering."

"We are putting New Yorker's to work with strategic investments in green initiatives and vital infrastructure  -- that will help spur economic development, create jobs and grow small businesses," said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee. "I thank Mayor Brown for his leadership in making this project possible and putting a total of $2.7 million worth of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants to work -- bringing jobs to Buffalo today and creating a more sustainable energy future for the long term.   I am proud to be working with the Mayor on a common agenda of growth and prosperity for Buffalo and all of Western New York."

In addition to traditional facility improvement measures, the city's plan also includes the introduction of alternative energy technologies like solar, wind, and geothermal to many of the facilities.  These new emerging "Green" technologies will enable the city to pursue additional grants and rebates that will grow the project and its' economic impact significantly.

"The enactment of the economic recovery bill has enabled us to invest in our community's energy future," said Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter. "With these federal recovery dollars we will not only take a major step towards enhanced energy efficiency but also create good green jobs to strengthen the regional economy."

"This investment approved by Congress through the Recovery Act will provide needed efficiency upgrades and create long-term savings for local taxpayers," said Congressman Brian Higgins.

"I'm on a mission to make New York this country's capital for green energy technologies. With leaders like Mayor Byron Brown committing their cities to going green, I'm confident we'll get there. I fought to include more than $90 billion in investments and tax incentives for green programs in the economic recovery bill, including the block grant funds that will be going to Buffalo and communities across the state. Now we need to put those funds to work so we can put people back to work." said Rep. Steve Israel, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water and the co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in the House.

When the first-phase work is completed, this project will have created 43 general trade jobs, and 35 new "Green Collar" jobs.   Many of these new "Green Collar" jobs will be targeted for local residents with employment being coordinated through the public workforce system and community organizations.   These are good paying jobs (greater than $20 per hour) in a demand occupation that will provide opportunities to everyone including the underrepresented and underemployed.

The long-term objective of the city's energy conservation effort is to achieve a total $2.5 million in annual energy savings, implementing $25 million in energy conservation improvements to 145 city-owned buildings, which will create 90 fulltime jobs during the implementation of the energy conservation improvements.

The city's historic Broadway Market is a perfect example of this process.   New lights, handicap doors, and HVAC renovations were contracted by the City to local businesses.  These new improvements will save the City over $16,000 in electricity and $3,000 in natural gas each year while providing over $100,000 of economic impact to the community. The Market has approximately $140,000 in energy costs per year and it is expected that, with this program, the Market will save $25,000-$30,000 per year in energy costs.