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Housing Authority Hopes Improvements Will Save Millions

March 13, 2007 — Public housing officials hope to save millions in utility costs over the next decade by installing high-tech water and electricity-conservation devices, officials said Tuesday.
The V.I. Housing Authority recently signed a 12-year contract for Framingham, Massachusetts-based Ameresco, Inc. to install a variety of infrastructure improvements estimated to save $14 million dollars over the life of the contract, said Alphonso Jackson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. Proposed improvements include installing low-flow toilets, faucets, efficient showerheads, leak-detection devices, new underground pipes and energy-efficient lighting among others.
Installation of the improvements is expected to stretch into March 2008, covering more than 1,000 public housing units in Estate Tutu, Bovoni, Knolls in Contant, D. Hamilton Jackson Terrace, Alphonso Gerard Complex, Marley Homes, Marley Addition, Mount Pleasant and Joseph E. James Terrace.
The upgrades, expected to cost $6.7 million, are to be financed by a loan repaid by the money saved on utility expenses, Jackson said in a written statement.
The rest of the savings will be used to make other improvements to the housing communities, the statement said.
The authority originally hired Ameresco in 2004 to audit energy expenditures in the communities. Ameresco has guaranteed that the cost savings from the installations will meet or exceed the annual cost for the improvements over the next 12 years.
The company is also responsible for annual resident education and maintenance staff training, conducting periodic equipment inspections and monitoring the monthly utility savings.
The federal government took over the V.I. Housing Authority in 2003 — citing gross financial and organizational neglect on the part of the V.I. government.
The United States has more than 2.1 million public housing units run by about 3,400 public housing authorities.
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