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Pilot Projects

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Facility-Specific Projects

Throughout the fiscal year, EPA continued to provide technical support to ongoing projects, incorporate new innovative technologies, and plan for future energy upgrades while working toward the energy and pollution reduction goals. These projects illustrate how EPA can efficiently and effectively save energy and thereby prevent pollution. Descriptions of the projects are provided below.

Partnerships in Conservation

For several years, EPA has pursued public-private partnerships to gain knowledge, impart knowledge, and encourage the use of innovative technologies when planning, developing and implementing conservation measures and concepts in its facilities, or when participating in projects being carried out by others. Now these partnerships are proving to be fundamental for EPA to implement state-of-the-art energy-efficient technologies. The following are good representatives of the range of partnership activities in which the Agency is involved.


EPA is a member and sponsor of the Industry/University Cooperative Research Consortium (IUCRC) at the Carnegie-Mellon University Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics. With the National Science Foundation as an additional sponsor, the IUCRC includes government representatives to help determine research priorities and how information can be transferred among groups. EPA’s funding and participation in the IUCRC is used by the National Science Foundation to support research projects which explore the integration of building design, materials, construction, life-cycle uses, and operations to improve occupant health, satisfaction, productivity, and to prevent detrimental impacts to the environment and natural resources.

The research of this IUCRC deals directly with the environmental, economic, and industrial issues involved with the building industry. Pollution prevention is a monumental task in light of the social and economic needs, the national priorities, and the general trend towards eliminating the wastefulness that is prevalent in the building industry. EPA is interested in advancing the research and development of building concepts, technologies, and systems that will provide highly integrated solutions for the products of this industry and to the benefit of its customers. Also, EPA is interested in understanding and demonstrating the environmental benefits of these solutions, including their applications and instrumentation, whenever possible, even in its own buildings and facilities.

Corporation for Solar Technology and Alternative Renewable Resources (CSTRR)

In FY97, EPA established a relationship with CSTRR to incorporate the use of purchased solar energy at its Las Vegas laboratory. CSTRR, a public corporation charged with developing and distributing solar and renewable energy, is driving this initiative by proposing to build a power plant in the region based on solar energy. CSTRR’s initial research has shown that Nevada potentially offers outstanding solar energy resources. The move toward this technology not only conserves energy from traditional sources, but it reduces the level of man-made carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. EPA has signed a Letter of Interest, a non-binding agreement, for its facility to work with CSTRR and DOE to analyze a solar power purchase. To date, there has not been significant progress made with this partnership.

DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)

With the assistance of FEMP and the Tennessee Valley Authority, EPA is exploring the use of renewable technologies for incorporation in its renovation plans for its Athens, Georgia laboratory. The Southeastern Regional Biomass Energy Program (SERBEP), which has engineered bioenergy infrastructure in this area of the country, is the chief resource for this initiative. EPA invited SERBEP representatives to describe its program to Agency engineers and architects, and began seeking support on whether bioenergy — specifically developing biofuels from wood waste — is feasible at the Athens facility. The first phases in the investigation of this project will include:

An interagency agreement is already in place to perform this task, which will facilitate the working arrangement.

Energy Savings Performance Contracts

NVFEL will be EPA’s first facility to use this financing mechanism to upgrade its HVAC system. To achieve the reduction of energy, pollution, and cost, EPA requested proposals for innovative, resource-efficient, and highly integrated system designs with synergy among interacting components. The request for proposal incorporated an evaluation mechanism that requires each proposal to state the reduction in associated power generation pollutants, and the resultant societal life-cycle cost of the proposed retrofit.

Million Solar Roofs Initiative

As part of President Clinton’s new Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which aims to place a million solar energy systems on the roofs of American homes and businesses by the year 2010, and 20,000 solar installations on the roofs of federal buildings by the year 2010, EPA is committing to incorporate solar applications onto its facilities nationwide. This effort will result in a direct energy reduction for the Agency, reduction of greenhouse gases generated from utility energy production, additional jobs due to the increase in solar applications, and support for the solar technology industry. The Agency’s commitment to this initiative parallels its interest in, "accelerat[ing] our nation’s transition to a sustainable energy future," as quoted in a memo from Administrator Carol Browner to EPA’s Senior Administrative Officials. Section V, Pilot Projects, provides information on facility-specific solar applications.

Renewable Opportunities

In 1997, through an interagency agreement, EPA and DOE tasked DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory to assess the potential for implementing renewable energy technologies and conservation measures at the 16 EPA laboratories where EPA pays the utility bills. Seven renewable technologies were identified in the NREL "Renewable Energy Opportunity Assessment" report: solar water heating, solar ventilation preheating, photovoltaics, ground source heat pumps, solar cooling, skylights, and daylight controls. In response to NREL’s report, EPA is pursuing renewable technology opportunities at the following laboratories: Ada, OK; Ann Arbor, MI; Manchester, WA; and Narragansett, RI. Potential technologies that are being considered include on-site generation of geothermal energy using water-based heat pumps. Facility-wide opportunities will remain under consideration for a long-term conservation strategy. EPA has moved forward in analyzing potentially good investments for installing three solar collectors to provide energy for hot water heating at the laboratory in Edison, NJ, specifically in Building 209. The estimated installation cost would be $14,448, with an annual cost savings of $1,237. The technology would conserve energy and prevent pollution by avoiding 3,572 kg of carbon dioxide emissions, 23 kg of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 17 kg of nitrogen oxides emissions. EPA is currently preparing to issue a design a specification for this project.

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell

In order to execute the actual development and application of the fuel cell to be installed at EPA’s Fort Meade laboratory, EPA is participating in this public-private partnership with DOE, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Westinghouse Corporation, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Electric Power Research Institute, and others, in order to investigate the technical and financial viability for successfully demonstrating this project. The partners have been meeting for over two years and have successfully leveraged this project to EPA’s senior-level management in order to obtain financial commitment. The Fort Meade Environmental Science Center will be constructed by spring of FY99, at which time EPA expects to be able to power a portion of the facility’s electrical needs with the SOFC.

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