CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Renovations are under way at the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in downtown Charleston as part of a national, multi-billion dollar effort to reduce the carbon footprint of federal buildings.
Last year, the U.S. General Services Administration was allocated $5.5 billion in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to upgrade federal buildings and courthouses across the United States and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Robert C. Byrd courthouse - which was dedicated in 1998 and cost $81 million to construct - received approximately $5 million in funding from the Recovery Act.
General Services Administration spokeswoman Gina Gilliam said the money is being used to replace the roof of the 12-year-old building and install a solar panel system to generate electricity.
"The solar panels are expected to reduce the facility's energy consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions," Gilliam said.
The solar panels are expected to generate approximately 90,000 kilowatt hours per year.
In addition to the roof work, lighting fixtures in the facility's parking garage will be replaced with more energy-efficient fixtures. Improvements will be made to the building's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems to make them more efficient as well.
"GSA selected the best projects for accomplishing the goals of the Recovery Act based on two over-arching criteria: ability of the project to put people back to work quickly, and transforming federal buildings into high-performance green buildings," Gilliam said.