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Johnson Controls helps Helena Housing Authority go green with energy efficiency improvements


Project expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generate $2.4 million in energy savings over 15 years

HELENA. – An energy efficiency project designed to improve resident comfort while reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the 366 housing units operated by the Helena Housing Authority (HHA) is now underway. The improvements are made possible by an energy savings performance contract with Johnson Controls, the global multi-industrial leader in energy efficiency. Johnson Controls was selected from a review of energy service companies to implement and maintain the project.

The project is expected to save more than $2.4 million in energy and water costs over the 15-year contract period. After installation is complete, utility savings are expected to reach $210,000 in the first year. Additionally, the project could create 58 jobs and over $5 million in additional spending in Montana according to the economic multiplier data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

“We are excited to be able to provide housing that will be both affordable and energy efficient for residents most in need,” said Josh LaFromboise, Executive Director, Helena Housing Authority. “By partnering with Johnson Controls, HHA can assure its affordable housing will be available to families in need for many years to come.”

LaFromboise continued, “During these tough economic times this program presents a great opportunity to support local contractors and suppliers. For example, Valley Bank of Helena is helping to finance the project, illustrating a sound partnership and the importance of supporting local businesses.”

The energy and water conservation plan is the first performance contract with a housing authority in the state of Montana, enabling the HHA to significantly reduce its utility costs and carbon footprint, while using those savings to repay the project capital investment over the term of the contract without increasing its operating budget. Funds that would normally pay for monthly utility (electric and gas) expenses will be redirected to repay the capital investment on the project.

The contract calls for three specific areas of focus: the retrofitting of both the natural gas furnace and central boiler system to improve heating and overall building energy efficiencies; weatherization to reduce heat loss while lowering energy costs and increasing resident comfort; finally, the inclusion of renewable energy technology, specifically a new photovoltaic system, designed to reduce energy costs and environmental pollution.

“Johnson Controls worked closely with the housing authority and its residents to determine how this project could have the greatest impact on the community,” said David Koch, director of Public Housing Solutions at Johnson Controls. “This interaction allowed us to really gauge what matters to the people of Helena. We are committed to ensuring the success and ongoing support of the project.”

The project’s expected annual greenhouse gas reductions are more than 1.4 million lbs. of carbon dioxide, 795 lbs. of sulfur dioxide and 2,295 lbs. of nitrogen oxide. That’s the equivalent to removing 146 passenger cars from the highways or the planting of 204 acres of trees per year.


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