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(Wed., March 31, 2010)— The City and County of Honolulu was recognized yesterday as a national leader in conserving energy and promoting “green” practices that help address global climate change. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann with a $499,000 Climate Showcase Communities grant and two Energy Star building awards for meeting high energy performance standards Honolulu Hale and the nearby Fasi Municipal Building.


            “This grant will go a long way toward reducing our dependence on foreign oil, which is a key component of our nationally recognized 21st Century Ahupuaa City Sustainability Plan,” said Hannemann, referring to Honolulu’s unique approach to environmental protection, based on traditional Hawaiian concepts of responsible stewardship of natural resources.


            He congratulated several city officials who were instrumental in winning the Energy Star awards: Department of Design and Construction Director Craig Nishimura and Engineer Allyn Lee. He also congratulated Department of Community Services Deputy Director Ernie Martin for his work on the Climate Showcase Communities grant proposal.


            EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, who made the presentations during a March 30 ceremony at Honolulu Hale, said the city has been very effective at leading by example.


            “By investing in energy efficiency, residents and businesses will become less reliant on imported energy and will lessen environmental impacts,” Blumenfeld said. “President Obama and EPA are committed to improving the nation’s energy outlook, through programs like Honolulu’s and the use of Energy Star tools to benchmark building energy use.”


            Representatives of several community and environmental groups that are collaborating with the City to utilize the grant also attended the ceremony, including Olin Lagon of Kanu Hawaii, Gary Gill of Blue Planet Foundation, and John Leong of Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps.


            The Climate Showcase Communities grant will create quantifiable and long-lasting residential greenhouse gas reductions. The approach includes community outreach to residents about their energy use, swapping out more than 20,000 incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient fluorescent and LED bulbs, and the development of a Hawaii-specific residential energy audit. The project will fund energy audit and weatherization “green jobs” training, and will include the installation of 300 whole-house, real-time energy monitors. Among the 300 households that receive monitors, 150 will also be given comprehensive energy audits.


            Honolulu Hale and the Fasi Municipal Building are two of the latest buildings in Hawaii to be designated Energy Star Buildings by EPA’s Energy Star Program. The buildings met Energy Star’s requirements for energy performance, thermal comfort, indoor air quality and lighting levels.


The structures rate in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy performance. Commercial buildings that earn the Energy Star label use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.


To earn its Energy Stars, Honolulu invested approximately $2.6 million in Honolulu Hale and $6 million in the Fasi Municipal Building to retrofit the office with more energy efficient lighting and modernize the air conditioning systems. The annual energy savings for these buildings are approximately $130,000 and $440,000, respectively. The city’s returns on its investments are 20 and 14 years, respectively.


            “We appreciate the EPA’s recognition of our administration’s energy conservation efforts,” Hannemann said. “We work to lead by example. While Honolulu has the smallest carbon footprint of any major American city, we are constantly striving to improve the impact city facilities have on our environment.”


            The City is planning to use Federal Energy Stimulus funds to implement lighting retrofits at two other structures: Kapolei Hale and the Administration Building at the Kalihi-Palama Bus Maintenance Facility. Additional City energy conservation projects include the installation of photovoltaic systems at the Halawa Corporation Yard and Pearl City Bus Maintenance Facility, and lighting improvements in the Fasi Civic Center Parking Structure and Neal Blaisdell Center.


            Energy Star is a government-backed program helping businesses and consumers protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. More than 8,000 organizations partner with the EPA in the Energy Star program. The overall goal of the Climate Showcase Communities grant program is to create replicable models of sustainable community action that generate cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions while improving the environmental, economic, public health, or social conditions in communities.




Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 768-6928