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Energy Performance Contracting Revamps Capitol Complex

When the first buildings of Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex were constructed 117 years ago, the designers couldn’t have anticipated all of the infrastructure requirements of modern office buildings.



When the first buildings of Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex were constructed 117 years ago, the designers couldn’t have anticipated all of the infrastructure requirements of modern office buildings.  While the seven classical buildings that make up the complex are striking, by 2006 they needed to be brought up to the latest energy efficiency and sustainability standards.

The Pennsylvania Department of General Services began working on a major energy conservation upgrade for the complex. The project addressed tightening the building envelopes among other measures.  This included installing more than 2,400 new windows and upgrading building insulation throughout the complex.

This complemented HVAC initiatives.  Exposed steam piping and valves were insulated and more than 1,500 steam traps were installed. The central chilled-water plant was upgraded with two new 2,500-ton chillers and 14 variable-frequency fan and motor drives were deployed.

All lighting was retrofitted to high efficiency fixtures, and 332 lantern-style walkway pole lights were converted to LED technology. The existing direct digital control system was also upgraded and expanded to meet the needs of and better manage the new infrastructure. Throughout the campus, water conservation measures were instituted to further cut utility costs.

Extensive Upgrades Pay Off
The Capitol Complex Energy Project, executed by Constellation Energy, has been one of the most demanding guaranteed-energy-savings efforts that the state has ever undertaken. All together, $19 million in capital improvements were developed, and the project cost is recuperated in its entirety by the annual guaranteed utility savings. First year savings of the 15-year project totaled $1.5 million.

The historic and bucolic appearance of the complex — with its many parks, plazas, fountains, and statuary — does not give any indication that the complex now hosts some of the most efficient and modern infrastructure in Harrisburg. Today the upgraded State Capitol Complex provides the ideal setting from which to lead Pennsylvania on financial and sustainability matters.


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