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Ameresco, Columbia Housing Authority sign energy pact

Staff Report

Published Dec. 31, 2012

Ameresco Inc., an energy efficiency and renewable energy company, has signed an agreement with Columbia Housing Authority worth $2.7 million. The project will provide water and energy efficiency upgrades to more than 1,200 housing authority housing units and is expected to save over $6.5 million for the Authority over the 20-year contract term.

“We are pleased to enter into this partnership with Ameresco to provide these water and energy efficiency upgrades to our units, and we look forward to getting underway with the project implementation,” said Gilbert Walker, CHA executive director. “The HUD energy performance contract program uses the energy and water savings to leverage private capital to cover the costs of the improvements, so there is no ‘out-of-pocket’ cost to the CHA.”

Walker said the $2.7 million project includes water and lighting efficiency upgrades, as well as upgrades to mechanical equipment at three CHA sites: Hammond Village, Oak Read High Rise, and Marion Street High Rise. Construction will begin in early 2013 and continue for about a year.

“These upgrades improve the comfort and quality of life for CHA’s residents, particularly in the several sites where mechanical upgrades will be constructed. In addition, they provide substantial savings for the housing authority,” said David J. Anderson, executive vice president, Ameresco.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development energy performance contract program provides incentives to public housing authorities across the country to implement energy and water savings improvements to their housing units. Since inception of the program about 20 years ago, more than 240 public housing authorities nationwide have participated in the program, which has leveraged over $839 million in energy and water improvements.

Columbia Housing Authority is the third-oldest housing authority in the country and currently provides affordable housing to approximately 10,000 residents of Richland County and the City of Columbia. There are over 2,200 units of housing for families of low and moderate incomes. CHA also administers rental assistance programs such as the Section 8 program.