The Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority was created in 1948 for the purpose of developing the 745,000 square foot Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (previously known as the City-County Building) which was constructed in 1955 at a cost of $26,000,000. Major tenants are the City of Detroit’s Executive and Legislative Branches, the Office of the Clerk for the City of Detroit, the Wayne County Clerk’s offices, and the Wayne County Probate Court and the 3rd Judicial Circuit Courts.
In 2005, the Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority (Authority) revised its Mission Statement and added “environmentally appropriate” as a guiding principle. Applying this principle in its daily operations has enabled the Authority to reduce its annual operating budget from $15 million to $7.5 million including a 50% reduction in utility expenses (resulting in five Energy Star designations). These operational savings have also enabled the Authority to move forward with the implementation of a number of long overdue capital improvements without requiring capital funding from the City of Detroit or County of Wayne. These projects include the renovation of the 13th floor auditorium (increasing its capacity from 477 seats to 553 seats) and the restoration of the “Spirit of Detroit” Statue.
The Authority focuses its operating efforts on the identification of “no-cost and low-costs” solutions to energy efficiency and cost containment. The Experience Exchange Report (EER) is an annual national survey of commercial building operating expenses by major market areas. Based on the EER comparison, the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center utility cost per square foot in 2005 was $4.43 per square foot and 32% higher than the average commercial building expense. By 2010 the Authority has been successful in reducing energy costs to $2.31 per square foot and therefore or 46% lower than the average commercial building expense of $4.30.
No-Cost Operational Initiatives:
- These initiatives have focused on operating policies and procedures including:
- Establish “Favored Nation” relationship with the County of Wayne in negotiating bulk steam rate
- Establishing standard building hours of operation (reducing the demand for after-hours heating and cooling)
- Eliminating evening light pollution (E. Jefferson decorative lighting and unnecessary office suite lighting)
- Transitioning to daytime cleaning (reduce staff levels and eliminate need for evening lighting)
- Communicating “green initiatives” to the stakeholders and tenants and encouraging their participation
- These initiatives involve preventive maintenance and capital spending with a rapid pay-back through utility costs savings:
- Transitioned condenser water source from domestic water to river water
- Maintenance of steam distribution system and steam trap repairs and replacements
- Lighting retrofit program (18,000 fixtures) and transition from T12 to T8 fixtures and to energy efficient ballasts
- Re-engineered restrooms designed to hand-free and to reduce water and energy consumption
- Increased the capacity and efficiency of the chiller with a VSD motor enabling the center to operate on one chiller
The Authority has received five consecutive EPA Energy Star designations by managing energy performance strategically across the entire organization and by making cost-effective improvements to the Center. While participating in the ENERGY STAR initiative, the Authority has improved it ranking from the 56 to 96 percentile, has saved approximately $1.8 million dollars annually in energy costs and has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use annually from 1,156 households or equal to the annual gas emissions from 1,598 passenger vehicles.
Source: The Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority