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Federal building latest to sign up for seawater A/C project

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:23 p.m. HST, May 13, 2014

The Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is the latest customer to sign up for a service that proposes the use of cold ocean water to provide air conditioning for buildings in downtown Honolulu.

The federal building is the sixth customer to have signed agreements to participate in the long-delayed venture scheduled to break ground later this year. The project is expected to be completed by 2016.

Other customers signed by developer Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning include Hawaiian Electric Co., Finance Factors Ltd., First Hawaiian Center, One Waterfront Towers and Remington College.

The agreement will make the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building the first federal government building in the nation to use seawater for cooling purposes, and represents a significant milestone in HSWAC's 10-year effort to bring to fruition one of the largest energy efficiency projects in Hawaii, said Eric Masutomi, HSWAC president and chief executive officer.

The incorporation of seawater air conditioning into the $121 million modernization and renovation already under way will help the GSA to meet its goal of reducing the building's energy consumption by 30 percent and attaining a silver designation under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, according to a news release from HSWAC.

The project is expected to create the opportunity for expansion of district cooling projects across the state and allow for export of the technology to other Asia-Pacific locations, according to the news release.

HSWAC projects reduce electricity usage by 77,000 megawatt-hours per year, which is the equivalent of a 30-megawatt wind farm; or a 42-megawatt solar farm. The HSWAC system is also expected to reduce potable water consumption for air conditioning by more than 260 million gallons, reduce sewage discharge by up to 84 million gallons, and avoid emissions of 84,000 tons of carbon dioxide -- the equivalent of removing 15,000 cars from the road -- each year.

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