Andrew W. Breidenbach Environmental Research Center (AWBERC)
Total Facility Area: 430,447 gross square feet (GSF)
Estimated Personnel: 825 persons
Energy Consumption: 147,394,793,544 Btu per year
Total Btu per GSF per Year: 342,423
Water Consumption: 27,596,798 gallons per year
Gallons per GSF per year: 64.1
All energy and water data are reported as of FY 2011.
Located on a 22-acre complex five miles north of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, AWBERC is the second largest research and development facility owned and operated by EPA. In addition to AWBERC, which includes a 7,000-square-foot Research Containment Facility, the Cincinnati research complex also includes the Testing and Evaluation Center, the Center Hill Facility, Research Support Annex 2, the National Service Center for Environmental Publications Warehouse, the Stream Facility, the Boat Warehouse, the Erlanger Facility, and the Norwood Facility.
This facility is internationally recognized for water research and has become a leader in areas of bioremediation and pollution prevention. Through this center, EPA also provides public education on the environment, emergency response training, and other programs.
- John Kappa received a fiscal year (FY) 2010 H2Overachiever Award for helping to achieve campus-wide water intensity savings of 19.8 percent in FY 2010 compared to FY 2009: 27.3 percent at the Testing and Evaluation Center; 16.6 percent at AWBERC; 17.5 percent at Center Hill; and 6.3 percent at Child Development Center. Steam sterilizer tempering water improvements and vacuum pump replacement helped achieve these savings.
Unique Environmental Features
Infrastructure Replacement Project
- In April 2003, EPA completed a master plan for the Cincinnati complex, which has since served as the basis for the facility's infrastructure replacement project (IRP). This
multi-year, multi-phase, multi-million dollar project will replace all of
the air handlers, vertical and horizontal
supply ductwork, control systems, exhaust systems, and associated equipment
- Research Support Annex 2 was brought online in July 2007 and will serve as temporary office/swing space during this multi-year renovation.
- Phase I of the IRP began in FY 2008, and Phase II began in 2009.
- EPA completed construction of Phase III in March 2011 and began construction of Phase IV in early FY 2011.
- EPA awarded the Phase V construction contract in late FY 2012.
- EPA will award additional IRP work, including a boiler replacement project, after FY 2013.
- The following upgrades and replacements will be included as part of the IRP:
- New equipment (fans, pump, and motors), which will be more efficient than the 1970s vintage equipment being replaced.
- New 600-ton chiller and sequence of operations for the chiller plant controls. The chiller was installed in May 2011, and full implementation of the new sequence of operations was completed in FY 2012.
- Variable air volume (VAV) technology, which is more efficient than the existing constant volume technology, as it automatically adjusts the supply and exhaust air to the room in response to the heating and cooling load of the room.
- Rezoning to segregate laboratories from offices, replacing one-pass air in offices with recirculated air, thus saving energy. Originally, the entire AWBERC facility had a single-pass ventilation system.
- A heat recovery system to recapture heating and cooling energy from the exhaust system, which will be used to pre-heat or pre-cool the incoming air.
- High-performance fume hoods that can be operated at lower flows.
- Automatic sash closures on all high-performance fume hoods that reduce air flow—and associated energy use—when the hood is unoccupied.
- Installation of a laboratory plug load and lighting submetering system. This project will help EPA to:
- Better understand the transition from ventilation demand-controlled laboratories (i.e., laboratories with fume hoods) to heat load-controlled laboratories (i.e., laboratories with heat-generating equipment, such as sample storage freezers).
- Assess the associated impacts on the facility's energy performance.
- Assess the associated impacts on the facility's fume hood airflow reductions/containment testing based on the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z-9.5 standard. This pilot project will:
- In the ventilation demand-controlled laboratories, reduce airflow in fume hoods that are unoccupied or have closed sashes from 250 cubic feet per minute (cfm) to 175 cfm airflow.
- Demonstrate fume hood containment at a low-duct velocity threshold.
- Appropriate fume hoods are being reduced to 175 cfm airflow.
- Commissioning of the laboratory ventilation system, including recommissioning and rebalancing of the facility's air distribution systems, which will improve the facility's energy efficiency.
- Transition from cooling towers to a free cooling system for process cooling.
- An upgrade of parking lot lighting equipment with more energy-efficient technology. This upgrade was completed in April 2012.
- Moving forward, all VAV fume hoods will be retrofitted to provide hibernation and decommissioning capabilities. This will enable the fume hood to reduce airflow to the minimum amount the valve can be reduced, thus saving energy when a fume hood is not in use.
- Occupancy sensors in offices and administrative spaces enable the lights to turn off and the space temperatures to fluctuate ±5° Fahrenheit from the set point when a space is unoccupied. Moving forward, occupancy sensors will be installed in the laboratories, enabling lighting to turn off and air changes to be adjusted back during unoccupied times.
- EPA offsets 100 percent of the electricity consumption at AWBERC with renewable energy certificates (RECs) purchased through the Agency's current blanket green power contract. Learn more about EPA's current and past blanket green power contracts.
- In FY 2011, AWBERC facility staff replaced a water-cooled ice machine with a machine that does not use single-pass city water for cooling, which will save an estimated 300,000 gallons of water per year.
- Also in FY 2011, toilets and urinals on the ground floor were replaced with high-efficiency models, which will save approximately 210,000 gallons of water per year.
- In September 2009, EPA updated its water management plan (PDF) (28 pp., 589K, About PDF) for AWBERC. This plan also covers Cincinnati's Child Care facility. This plan updates AWBERC's first water management plan (PDF) (18 pp, 796K, About PDF) was completed in July 2004.
- AWBERC has made low impact development (LID) techniques for stormwater management part of its commitment to become a more sustainable facility. A stormwater management master plan was completed for the facility in December 2009 that will serve as a framework for EPA to improve stormwater management at the site over time. Learn more about AWBERC's stormwater management master plan.
- In coordination with the above activities, EPA's Cincinnati facilities have established an environmental management system (EMS).
For More Information About This Facility