Minneapolis Public Housing Authority and Honeywell launch energy retrofit program

MINNEAPOLIS – Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) and Honeywell announced a $33.6-million energy efficiency and facility renewal program that will help the housing authority improve its infrastructure, reduce its impact on the environment, and save more than $3.7 million in utility costs per year. Local contractors will also complete a majority of the work for the program, one of the largest of its kind for a public housing authority, helping boost the Twin Cities job market.

MPHA will use the energy savings from the program — guaranteed by Honeywell through a 20-year performance contract — to finance most of the improvements, which will impact more than 40 highrise buildings and 700 single-family residences across the city. The work is expected to pay for itself over the course of the contract.

“This program allows MPHA to make important upgrades to our properties in a way that will benefit our residents, contribute to the long-term preservation of our affordable housing resources, make significant investments in the local economy and greatly diminish our carbon footprint ” said Cora McCorvey, MPHA executive director.

The program will reduce the housing authority’s annual electricity consumption by approximately 3.3 million kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power 310 homes per year on average. It also will cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 19.2 million pounds annually. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing almost 1,600 cars from the road.

Local contractors will help complete more than 60% of the work, which ranges from replacing old, inefficient boilers that provide heat for facilities to caulking, weather-stripping and sealing building doors, windows and seams. During peak construction, MPHA and Honeywell anticipate that nearly 250 tradespeople will be employed as part of the program. In addition, the housing authority and Honeywell will provide residents with opportunities to serve as paid educators and ambassadors, helping other residents understand and utilize the energy-saving strategies tied to this initiative.

All the improvements are expected to be finished by late 2010.

“This program gives MPHA a way to address its aging infrastructure and reduce its environmental footprint — without increasing operating budgets,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “These efforts not only benefit the housing authority and its residents, but make a positive impact on the community as a whole.”

MPHA, the largest affordable rental housing provider in Minnesota, hopes to achieve Energy Star® accreditation — the national mark of excellence in energy efficiency and performance — from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy as a result of the improvements. It would be one of the first in the public housing industry to receive this accreditation.