Allegheny County Unveils Energy Plan And Details of `Guaranteed Savings' Projects

    PITTSBURGH, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Allegheny County Commissioners
 today unveiled details of the County's Guaranteed Energy Savings Program,
 including energy conservation and facility improvement projects.  The program
 provides the County with an estimated $9.4 million in energy and operating
 cost savings for the next 10 years for facility improvements currently
 underway.
     In August 1998, this program was unanimously approved by the County
 Commissioners who authorized a "guaranteed" Energy Savings Performance
 Contract (ESPC) with NORESCO, an Equitable Resources company.
     County facilities undergoing energy audit and essential improvements
 include:  the Allegheny County Courthouse, County Office Building, the four
 regional Kane Centers, various North Park facilities, Shuman Center and the
 Health Department and Juvenile Court facility at 3333 Forbes Avenue in
 Oakland.
     Improvements at these facilities include the installation of energy
 efficient lighting, windows, chiller equipment, energy management control
 systems, the replacement and/or conversion of inefficient equipment and water
 conservation improvements.
     "Energy is vital to Allegheny County government operations.  Partnering
 with NORESCO, we now have a number of energy conservation and savings
 opportunities that we can implement without burdening taxpayers," said
 Commissioner Mike Dawida.
     Much of the existing energy-related equipment at these facilities is
 extremely outdated and nearing the end of its useful life.  Typically,
 replacing this equipment would require a substantial capital investment.
 However, under Pennsylvania's Guaranteed Energy Savings Act 29, signed into
 law by Governor Ridge in 1996, Commonwealth entities are authorized to make
 such improvements whereby the savings are guaranteed to pay for the capital
 investments over a term not to exceed 10 years.  In effect, the County is able
 to implement these essential facility improvements without the need for any
 capital expenditures.  More importantly, this program provides an innovative
 means of accomplishing these improvements without using funds from taxpayers.
     "The projects implemented to date clearly demonstrate that our guaranteed
 energy savings program is a creative way to save money and improve County
 facilities for residents and the employees who work there," said Commissioner
 Bob Cranmer.
     "We are pleased and excited to work with Allegheny County to reduce energy
 costs through this program," said Murry Gerber, president and chief executive
 officer of Equitable Resources.  "This initiative represents a public and
 private sector partnership with the common goal of improving the region's
 energy economics."
     Last year, the Commissioners established an Energy Task Force that
 identifies, evaluates and recommends energy conservation measures at Allegheny
 County facilities.  The Task Force, chaired by Senior Administrator Tom
 Kelley, includes representatives from various County departments and
 facilities.  The Task Force initiated this county-wide infrastructure
 improvement program whereby NORESCO guarantees to implement energy
 conservation measures that will provide sufficient savings over time to cover
 all capital costs associated with engineering, design, construction and
 financing associated with the project.
     Under the Master Performance Contract awarded last year to the Equitable
 Resources' subsidiary, several projects have already been completed and are
 generating energy savings with no up-front costs.
 
     -- At Shuman Center more than 1,800 lighting fixtures have been upgraded
         with energy savings lamps and electronic ballasts, two aging and
         inefficient chillers are being replaced, and a direct digital control
         energy management system has been installed in the building.
     -- At 3333 Forbes Avenue (Juvenile Court), NORESCO replaced more than 150
         lighting fixtures with new technologies and another 700 with energy
         efficient lamps and ballasts.  In addition, 168 thermal pane low E
         windows will be installed at the facility.
 
     The savings generated at both locations will be used to cover the project
 costs.  Through improvements at just these two facilities, the County will
 reduce the amount of electricity used each year by more than 2.1 million
 kilowatt hours.  Natural gas savings will exceed 5,600 MCF each year.
 Finally, two million gallons of water will be saved at Shuman Center through
 the installation of a new air-cooled refrigeration condenser.
     Allegheny County is in the process of extending this guaranteed savings
 program to other facilities including the four Kane Regional Hospitals, the
 County's downtown buildings, swimming pools, ice skating rinks and other
 County Park facilities.  Concurrently, with the implementation of this phase,
 which expected to be completed later this year, Allegheny County's Energy Task
 Force and NORESCO will be looking for other savings opportunities in
 facilities throughout the County.
     NORESCO, an Equitable Resources Company, is one of the largest and most
 experienced energy service companies in the United States.  It provides
 comprehensive energy management, energy efficiency applications and energy
 savings solutions for a wide range of institutional, governmental, commercial
 and industrial facilities.
     Equitable Resources (NYSE:   EQT) is an integrated energy company with
 emphasis on Appalachian area natural gas production, natural gas transmission
 and distribution and  leading edge energy management solutions throughout the
 United States.  Equitable also has exploration and production interests in the
 Gulf of Mexico and energy service management projects in selected
 international markets.
     Equitable Resources' recent news releases are available free of charge by
 fax through Company News on Call at 1-800-758-5804, ext. 289250, or on the
 Internet at http://www.eri2000.com
 
 

SOURCE Equitable Resources; NORESCO; Allegheny County
RELATED LINKS
http://www.eri2000.com

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