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City-County Building 'greening' project to cost $8 million

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The city predicts it will save $250,000 a year through energy- and water-system upgrades in the 48-year-old City-County Building, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Tuesday afternoon.

While most of the $8 million project to “green” the 28-story downtown tower consists of fairly conventional retrofits, one of the more radical projects will involve installation of a geothermal heat recovery system. It will use water already pumped from the lower floor of the parking garage to provide heating and cooling.

The city also plans to install solar thermal panels on the roof to heat hot water for the 25th floor.

Lighting of the southern plaza of the City-County Building will be powered by photovoltaic panels and by small wind turbines, as a publicly visible portion of the initiative that “will serve as an example to other building owners,” said Ballard.

About a year ago, the mayor announced plans to study how to extract energy and resource savings from the city’s considerable real estate portfolio, which includes about 70 buildings being examined for retrofits. The city worked with a team of local experts and with the not-for-profit Rocky Mountain Institute to come up with the greening plan.

It is “something that should have been done a long time ago,” said Ballard.

All told, the upgrades should shave the City-County Building’s energy consumption by 35 percent, officials estimated.

The upgrades will be funded under an energy savings contract, primarily through Indianapolis-based Performance Services Inc.

Under the contract, the city won’t pay directly for the cost of the building upgrades, which are expected to produce $750,000 a year in energy and water cost savings.

Rather, $500,000 of that amount saved will be plowed toward paying for the upgrades, with the city pocketing the remaining $250,000 a year in savings.

The $8 million in upgrades will be paid for in about 15 years, after which time the city gets to keep full amount of the annual savings.

Other upgrades include low-flow faucets and toilets, which have already been installed on 18 floors of the building. More energy-efficient lighting will be installed throughout the government complex, including sensors that will turn lights on and off depending on whether rooms are occupied.

City officials also are trying to make employees more sensitive about energy usage, said Karen Haley, director of the city’s Office of Sustainability. An employee survey was recently conducted to learn more about their habits and to generate new conservation ideas.

 

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  • No savings
    The only true winner here is Performance Services as they will make as much as a 50% profit on this savings contract. Great if you're them or own the company, as the company owner is the only winner

    These "savings" never materialize as great as they say, but it's so difficult to audit and prove it didn't save, and then it's years down the road when all who signed the contract are out of office, or working for one of the energy savings companies directly
  • Wrong Math
    Not sure how the last person came up with 32 years. It will take 10-16 years to pay off the loan or break even. 10 if you figure ultimately you have $750,000 in savings per year, or 16 if you base it on the $500,000 that will be used to pay the loan. Either way, I am more than excited that the city is finally making some progress on being environmentally conscious. It sets a great example and it is nice to see environmental progress from the top down for once in Indy. Instead of the grass roots folks caring the load. Everyone should be proud and quit griping!
  • Projected Savings
    Projected savings have a way of evaportating when experiencing actual savings. What if actual savings are $450k/yr?
  • Poorly written
    The article is poorly written then and should state more explicitly that the $8 mil is a loan which it currently does not.
  • Read it
    Read the full article before commenting. The savings will be $750,000 per year, but $500,000 of it will go towards the loan payment to make the changes. So the city has to put no money up and walks away with a net savings of $250,000 annually.
    • Economics
      How is this economically feasible? $8 mil to save $250,000 a year? So in 32 years this will break even. By then this building will need to be torn down. What a great way to spend the taxpayers' money...
      • Great!
        Sounds like a great plan that is a win for everyone...except the energy companies.

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      1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

      2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

      3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

      4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

      5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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