Archive

Allegheny County to use high-tech sensors on steam systems to cut heating bills | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Allegheny County to use high-tech sensors on steam systems to cut heating bills

Allegheny County hopes high-tech insulation fitted to steam pipes in four county buildings will slash last year’s nearly $1.5 million utility bill.

The county will partner with Uptown-based Embedded Energy Technology to install sensors on steam systems in the City-County Building, County Office Building, courthouse and jail, all Downtown, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said Monday.

The insulation, called “Smart Jackets” and embedded with sensors, measures temperatures and transmits data on energy use and cost savings. The monitors will alert county workers to leaks, failed valves or other emergencies.

“By lowering our steam usage, we reduce our steam cost and energy consumption as well as our carbon footprint,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Finding over $100,000 of savings each year in utility costs means that taxpayers pay less.”

The county received a $174,665 grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority for the project, which will cost more than $400,000. The project will establish one part-time and four full-time jobs, Fitzgerald said.

In all, the county devoted $900,000 in the proposed 2015 capital budget to make the courthouse and County Office Building more energy efficient by improving lighting and air conditioning, among other things.

Steam usage at the four buildings cost the county nearly $1.5 million in 2013. In 2011 and 2012, the county fixed some leaks and made repairs and updates that, in part, reduced steam costs in the four buildings from $2.1 million in 2011 to $1.4 million in 2012, according to information from spokeswoman Amie Downs.

The county hopes to have the insulation installed by next fall. Embedded Energy Technology did not return calls or emails seeking comment.

The county also announced it hired Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel to develop a plan for the restoration and renovation of the courthouse. The Downtown architecture firm did restoration work at the state capitols in Harrisburg and West Virginia, and was selected from 12 companies that submitted proposals.

The two-year contract will pay the firm and other partners developing the plan $477,544.39.

The project went through the county’s Professional Services Review Committee, which selected the firm.

The firm donated $1,000 to Fitzgerald’s campaign in 2013. Downs said the donation did not factor into the county’s selection.

Noted architect H.H. Richardson designed the 126-year-old building. The county set aside $400,000 in the proposed 2015 capital budget for a long-term master plan.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.