City Completes Energy-Efficiency Benchmarking of Municipal Buildings

NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans announced the completion of an energy benchmarking effort to collect data on the utility performance of all 92 municipal buildings, including libraries, recreation centers, and office buildings. According to a City press release, this information will help determine the buildings most eligible for energy upgrades in an effort to reduce energy costs, save taxpayers' money, and make New Orleans a more resilient city.

         This announcement coincides with the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo being held in New Orleans this week. Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and exposition dedicated to green building.

         "By reducing our energy footprint, we can better protect our environment and save money on energy costs that can be reinvested in our community," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "Through this energy benchmarking effort, we are now armed with important information that will help us achieve our goal of being a national model for resilience in time for New Orleans' 300th anniversary in 2018."

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         With funding and guidance from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the City and local developer Green Coast Enterprises (GCE), collected and transferred three-years of data into a cloud-based platform created by WegoWise, a building intelligence software provider. GCE documented building characteristics and utility costs to create a baseline of existing energy use. GCE has already demonstrated the success of benchmarking and retrofitting systems in many of the New Orleans' public schools which has resulted in significant energy cost savings. WegoWise, who donated a year's worth of services on the project, analyzed the data and pinpointed the least efficient buildings in the City's portfolio that would benefit most from retrofits.

         Cedric Grant, Executive Director of the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and head of the City's Integrated Infrastructure Management System said, "By retrofitting our energy systems, the City can make cost-effective upgrades that will use less energy from the electric grid and increase the lifespan of our critical equipment and infrastructure like air conditioning systems that use incredible amounts of electricity and expensive to maintain."

         Melissa Wright, Director of the City Energy Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council said, "Better buildings can help New Orleans embrace resilience – making the city stronger and more sustainable into the future. Boosting energy efficiency in the City's buildings can reduce the pollution that is turbocharging our weather, keep the lights on with less electricity, and lower energy bills all at the same time. By bringing these benefits to City-owned buildings, Mayor Landrieu's administration is paving the way for others in New Orleans and around the country to follow."

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         Jackie Dadakis, Director of Green Coast Enterprises said, "While it's not as simple as turning down, or, in our case, turning up the thermostat, these new models for efficiently managing building systems can be quickly put in place and achieve great results. Saving money while lowering fossil fuel use is something most people want, so we expect to see this program expanding into the private sector as well."

         Andrew Chen, CEO of WegoWise said, "Municipalities across the U.S. are increasingly looking into ways to reduce their building operations expenses-a significant line item for most cities. New Orleans' focus on placing efficiency dollars in the buildings that promise the greatest returns is a smart investment of city's tax dollars and reflect a commitment to good governance."

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