Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
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.
- Ada, OK. The laboratory in Ada, Oklahoma, will soon undergo a comprehensive energy-efficiency upgrade of their entire facility, including installation of a ground-source heat pump system and an integrated DDC system for energy, fire, and security management, all funded by an ESPC.
- Ann Arbor, MI. An ESPC to conduct a complete energy upgrade at the NVFEL will be awarded in the spring of FY98. The planned upgrade will establish NVFEL as an energy and environmental showcase facility by reducing source emissions, energy consumption, and energy costs, and incorporating renewable technologies, while preserving or improving the integrity of the laboratorys mission. In addition, NVFEL installed a photovoltaic energized active daylighting system to provide natural lighting in a hi-bay area. The project uses existing roof-mounted skylight devices, and photocells to shut-off fluorescent lighting when adequate daylight is present. Motorized reflectors, powered by photovoltaic cells, track the suns path and direct sunlight into the diffusers. NVFELs energy conservation efforts last year saved $45,000 in utility bill costs, which the facility used to purchase two pieces of equipment for the laboratory. The first, a $32,000 vehicle mover allows an operator to maneuver test vehicles without starting their engines. The other, a fuel flow measurement system, which cost $13,000, is used to test heavy-duty engines. NVFEL management will be adding a small plaque to the mover to remind staff that it was purchased with funds resulting from energy saved, and to reinforce the need for continued diligence in conservation. Installation of a real-time demand meter has helped the facility reduce and maintain its electrical demand peak. FY97 also saw NVFEL break ground on its new energy-efficient office building, designed using an integrated team approach to ensure that energy efficiency, pollution prevention, and passive solar features were key components of the design process. The targeted completion date for the new building is March or April FY98.
- Athens, GA. A biomass feasibility study for Athens is well underway. A strong partnership between the EPA, DOE, Tennessee Valley Authority, US Department of Agriculture, University of Georgia, and Georgia State Forestry will be the foundation for making this a successful project. Preliminary results of the feasibility study indicated that biofuel could potentially be obtained from the large quantities of cardboard, paper, waste wood, and municipal wood that are currently disposed of in local landfills each month. The next phase of this project will entail determining the size, type, cost, and potential funding options for the plant equipment best suited for the Athens laboratory. Solar hot water was installed at the day care center.
- Cincinnati, OH. In FY98 several energy savings opportunities will be pursued and implemented. Energy-efficient projects will include: a closed loop glycol cooling tower; a high pressure absorption chiller; energy-efficient electric chillers, energy-efficient elevator motors; boiler controls, adding a revolving door to help maintain temperature and building pressure; adding a new HVAC system with improved windows and insulation (Center Hill Facility); installing Green Lights; installing a new energy-efficient boiler (T&E facility).
- Duluth, MN. The facility incorporated Green Lights, and designed energy-efficient windows. Geothermal cooling is in place.
- Edison, NJ. A combination desiccant wheel/heat transfer wheel system has been installed as a pilot program at the Edison laboratory to recover energy from fume hood exhausts and to control humidity and conditioning in analytical chemistry laboratory modules. This technology application was a pilot application in an analytical laboratory. In this setup, a heat transfer wheel is installed half in the supply air stream between the desiccant wheel and the cooling coils, and half in the regeneration air stream. This wheel transfers heat from the hot, dry supply air to the air which needs to be heated for regeneration, reducing both the cooling coil load and the regeneration heater load. A statement of work (SOW) is in place to install a solar hot water heating system. After analysis of the SOW, it was recommended that the existing electric hot water heaters (which will provide heating in excess of the solar heaters capacity) be replaced with gas-fired hot water heaters.
- EPA Headquarters, Washington, DC. A solar hot water heating system was installed in August 1995 to heat the water in the west tower of the EPA Headquarters Building in Washington, D.C. As of April 1997, the drain-back system, comprised of 480 square feet of collector surface (12-4'x10' collectors), located on the roof of Waterside Mall, has produced approximately 32,600 kWh resulting in $2,610 in utility savings. The system is slightly oversized, resulting in less energy and cost savings than was originally predicted, however, the system continues to offset some of the utility demand, and continues to serve as an educational resource to "energize" employees about the benefits of solar and other renewable technologies.
- New EPA Headquarters, Washington, DC. EPA incorporated many energy-efficient and productivity-promoting HVAC and lighting features into the design of its new headquarters, including space-adjustable thermostat-controlled variable air volume (VAV) fans to automatically adjust the amount and temperature of the air to meet the requirements of the office or space, an upgraded HVAC system that eliminates use of ozone-depleting CFCs, high-efficiency lighting controlled by workspace and floor motion sensors. More information on the new facility is provided later in this report.
- Ft. Meade, MD. EPA, with DOE and DOD, assembled a public-private partnership to potentially demonstrate the worlds first megawatt class solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power station at EPAs new Fort Meade Environmental Science Center in Fort Meade, MD. The power station is an innovative compact technology which functions along the same principles as a battery, yet can be fueled by a variety of resources, among them renewable biogas and solar hydrogen. The technology will provide extremely efficient and clean power to the facility at over twice the efficiency of existing conventional power-generating combustion technologies using a combined cycle power generating system.
- Gulf Breeze, FL. Heat pipe technology provides realized reductions in the existing DX cooling system by precooling and dehumidifying outside supply air in the 10,000 square-foot analytical laboratory building. Recently installed timers on approximately 20 electric water heaters are expected to save a significant amount of energy. Access to an oversized, under-used chiller in an existing building to provide cooling to a new adjacent building saved time, money and energy, and has also increased the longevity and efficiency of the existing chiller. In FY98, EPA will be awarding the Node-based Direct Digital Controls (NDDC) project. This project will improve building controls and real-time monitoring of building security, fire protection and indoor environmental quality. The NDDC technology incorporates an open-communications protocol using an integrated computer-chip that provides distributable intelligent linking of a wide variety of energy, environmental, safety, and security needs. Also in FY98 EPA will install a PV system to generate on-site electricity using solar incidence (specifications ready for solicitation). The results of the installation will lead to other installations.
- Houston, TX. The facility conducted air system modifications and upgraded existing DDC system. It incorporated a cooling tower condensate return system to reduce water consumption, reduce operating costs, and enhance environmental conditions. Without this cooling tower condensate return system, large volumes of water would have to be supplied by the local water utility. EPA is incorporating the use of a night set-back system to control exhaust fans, laboratory fume hoods, and supply air. Also at the Houston laboratory, EPA is evaluating technology and operational options to reduce the large amounts of cooling and reheat that are required to reach temperature set-points.
- Las Vegas, NV. The facility is currently developing the needs assessment for the new facility design. The design will include requirements for passive and active solar and other renewable technologies.
- Montgomery, AL. EPA developed a protocol for incorporating an NDDC technology system to its Montgomery laboratory to control and monitor laboratory pressures, fume hood exhausts, pH wash-down fluids, scrubber efficiencies, and indoor environmental conditions. Currently in the process of evaluating the program of requirements.
- Narragansett, RI. The Agency is designing an HVAC system upgrade which will use high-efficiency chillers, geothermal heat pumps, and latent energy recovery technologies. This system is being designed based on the readily available heating and cooling potential of circulated bay water used for salt water aquatic testing in the laboratory. This project will be pursued through an energy savings performance contract, and the request for proposals will require renewables.
- Newport, OR. Chillers have timer night setback and run lower on weekends. Nightly close-up procedures turn off major printers, and employees encouraged to turn off computers.
- Research Triangle Park (RTP), NC. RTP benefits from a special rate structure with Duke Power, an arrangement that saves them approximately $100,000 per year. At the Environmental Research Center (ERC) they have installed energy efficient lights, chillers, air compressors, and vacuum pumps. No light/computer turnoff programs, but employees are encouraged to turn off computers. Further information is provided later in this report.
- San Francisco, CA. The building has a GSA full service lease which uses half the money saved from the Green Lights upgrade to feed a tenant improvement fund.
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. EPAs 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. CSTRRs 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.
DOEs 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:
- A field trip to the research laboratory in Athens to gather data for existing biomass options, and to review the plans necessary to implement these options
- An evaluation of biomass fuel options available to the Athens facility.
An interagency agreement is already in place to perform this task, which will facilitate the working arrangement.
Energy Savings Performance Contracts
NVFEL will be EPAs 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 Clintons 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 Agencys commitment to this initiative parallels its interest in, "accelerat[ing] our nations transition to a sustainable energy future," as quoted in a memo from Administrator Carol Browner to EPAs Senior Administrative Officials. Section V, Pilot Projects, provides information on facility-specific solar applications.
In 1997, through an interagency agreement, EPA and DOE tasked DOEs 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 NRELs 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 EPAs 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 EPAs 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 facilitys electrical needs with the SOFC.