The Pennsylvania Convention Center announced today that competitive procurement of an electricity supplier and energy conservation measures have resulted in electric cost savings of $807,000 – a drop of 34 percent – during the first eight months of 2012. The Center projects additional cost savings in 2013 as a result of the recent procurement of a new electric supplier at even lower rates, the competitive procurement of a new natural gas supplier, and its continued efforts to implement energy-conservation measures.
"Over the course of the past two years, the management and the board of the Center have placed an increased emphasis on reducing our operating expenses and improving our overall energy efficiency," said Gregory J. Fox, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. "The first round of data shows that we have achieved significant cost savings through competitive procurement of our electricity supplier. We project even more savings as a result of a recently signed electric commodity rate that will be even lower in 2013, as well as lower rates for natural gas, also as a result of competitive procurement."
The driving factor in reducing the Center's electricity costs this year has been the competitive procurement of an electricity supplier, which reduced the center's average cost from $0.10557 per kilowatt hour in 2011 to $0.07384 per kilowatt hour in 2012, a significant decline. As a result, the Center has reduced its electric bill from $2,360,765.68 for the first eight months of 2011 to $1,552,877.80 for the same time period in 2012. That represents a cost savings of more than $807,000 or more than 34 percent. The mild winter weather and new energy conservation measures were also a factor, with the Center's overall electric consumption level declining by six percent in that period.
The Center also projects further energy-related cost reductions in 2013, thanks in part to the procurement of a new electricity supplier at an estimated average price for 2013 of $0.05614 per kilowatt hour. In addition, the recently completed competitive procurement of a natural gas supplier is projected to decrease the Center's natural gas expenses from $630,508.20 in 2011 to an estimated $331,000 in 2013.
"As a result of our procurement strategy and our efforts to take advantage of Pennsylvania's deregulation of the energy industry, we have been able to drastically reduce our energy costs," said Ahmeenah Young, president and CEO. "Combined with our comprehensive strategy to reduce the building's overall energy consumption, we are taking steps to operate more effectively and reduce the amount of state tax dollars we expend on energy usage at the Center. As a result of our efforts, the overall energy costs for the recently expanded Convention Center – which added approximately 935,000 square feet – are lower now than the energy costs prior to the expansion, a remarkable accomplishment."
The energy efforts began in November 2010 when the Center's Board asked an engineering firm to conduct an energy audit of the entire facility. Data from the audit and input from the Center'soutside energy consultant, Pro-Tech Energy Solutions, led to the development of a list of potential capital improvements designed to reduce energy consumption. The Center then prioritized those capital improvements to focus on a "payback" in savings of under two years.
Capital projects and operational changes undertaken by the Center in the past two years, include:
- Lighting system upgrades, including replacement of traditional lighting with new energy efficient LED lighting;
- Replacement of exit signs, which were approaching their life expectancy of 20 years, with new, energy efficient LED exit signs;
- Replacement of older refrigeration and ice-making units with more energy efficient units with high Energy Star ratings;
- Modification to building automation controls for lighting, heating, air-conditioning, and other units to conserve energy; and
- Use of natural gas fired air-cooling systems during peak electric usage periods, which reduces the strain on the PJM grid and reduces overall energy costs.
"As we mark 'Energy Action Month' in October, I encourage businesses and homeowners to be proactive in evaluating their own energy consumption," Young said. "Conducting energy audits and developing strategies to reduce energy consumption can help to dramatically reduce costs, as well as conserve energy and natural resources."