Hammond Unveils New Green Fleet in Partnership with Leopardo Energy

The City of Hammond, Indiana partnered with Leopardo Energy, a division of Leopardo Companies, to develop and implement a multi-phased energy conservation program aimed at helping the city go green. This is the first energy program for Leopardo Energy in the state of Indiana.

“Finally, we did the right thing,” said the Mayor, surrounded by snow plows, dump trucks, police cruisers and other fleet vehicles at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the Hammond Civic Center. “Hammond has vehicles on the road 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Anytime you can save money on gas, it’s important.”

Heather Garay, Hammond City Controller, explained the benefit to the city, saying, “Every single department in the city will be touched by this. This will help us reduce our carbon footprint and increase savings. My favorite part is how it’s financed,” she added. “These improvements pay for themselves.”

Savings generated by Leopardo’s energy conservation program, which includes lower energy, fuel and maintenance costs, will be used to pay for the $13.5 million in improvements and will result in an additional $16 million in savings over the 20-year guaranteed period.

“I was responsible for overseeing the development of this project from the ground up,” said Rob Vollrath, Chief Business Officer with Leopardo Energy. “My background is in finance. Going through the budget and identifying areas that can make an impact to leveraging savings through creating capital for these buildings and being able to create a savings stream that we could leverage without changing their budget and impacting the taxpayer was the most fun part. Since this project, we’ve closed two more in the state of Indiana and are talking to multiple other Indiana communities,” he added.

Some of the work completed for Hammond in this energy conservation program include the conversion of 4,800 city-owned streetlights into new LED fixtures and upgrading building automation controls and HVAC systems across a number of municipal facilities, such as the police station, fire stations, civic center and public works complex. In the first phase, Hammond converted many of its existing gas-burning fleet to bi-fuel propane systems, including detective vehicles, plow, garbage and dump trucks. An additional 175 vehicles will be replaced in the next three phases.

“We had a great team,” said Jeff Sauline, project manager with Leopardo Energy. “The City of Hammond was great to work with. Meeting all the people in Hammond and building those relationships was my favorite part of the job. I want the residents of Hammond to know it’s not just the 4,800 street lights—there’s a lot of equipment behind the scenes that was installed. The City of Hammond was special,” he added. “If other cities are half as easy to work with as Hammond, life will be good.”

Leopardo Energy worked with the City of Hammond to employ many local contractors and vendors for the project. Budd Mechanical provided HVAC sheet metal and piping work; Bellsom Electric provided building lighting and building BAS upgrades; L&S Electric provided decorative street lighting improvements; Midwestern Electric provided cobrahead street lighting improvements; Korellis Roofing provided roofing and patching work; all fixtures were purchased from Graybar; vehicles were ordered from Smith Ford; Cubit provided fabricated brackets, racks and trays for vehicles; Advantage Signs provided vehicle decals; and R&S Auto performed the vehicle propane upgrades.