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Friday, July 31, 2009

Cost Efficiency Takes a Back Seat

The State of New Hampshire is preparing to spend nearly $1 million to renovate a largely unused building in Concord as a part of a stimulus initiative to increase energy efficiency among government buildings.

The State has accepted $10.7 million as a part of the Department of Energy's State Energy Program. The renovation of the New Hampshire Hospital building in Concord, estimated to cost approximately $900,000, is the top ticket item, according to a report in today's Concord Monitor.

Unfortunately, only 20% of the building is in use by state employees and, as has become a running theme with the stimulus projects, no one knows how many jobs the project will generate:
Though the old New Hampshire Hospital building in Concord has sat largely empty for decades, much of the building - 215,000 square feet - is heated through the winter. Only about 20 percent of that space is used for state offices. The heating system in the 1842 building operates with an all-or-nothing approach.

Until this week, the state hasn't had the money to fix the problem, but state officials have now formally accepted $10.7 million in stimulus money to improve energy efficiency at state buildings. Adding heating zones to the old hospital building, at a cost of about $900,000, is among the top-ticket items on a preliminary list of changes to be made at 75 state buildings. …

[T]he $10.7 million plan could reduce energy use in state buildings by about 1 percent. Money set aside to train building managers could increase that.

"We've been struggling to stay even," Downes said. "If we can actually reduce (usage) by 1 percent, that's making progress."

Downes said it's hard to say how many jobs the projects could create, though the state will be tracking that as the work moves forward. Administrative Services has hired three people to help run the program and will put out requests for proposals on various projects soon.

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