Fort Meade, Maryland
Environmental Science Center (ESC)
Total Facility Area: 162,799 gross square feet (GSF)
Estimated Personnel: 168 persons
FY 2003 Energy Consumption*: 63,553,298,694 Btu per year
FY 2003 Btu per GSF per Year: 391,080
FY 2012 Energy Consumption: 48,461,026,940 Btu per year
FY 2012 Btu per GSF per Year: 297,674; 23.9 percent reduction from the baseline
FY 2007 Water Consumption**: 5,628,000 gallons per year
FY 2007 Gallons per GSF per Year: 34.6
FY 2012 Water Consumption: 3,679,000 gallons per year
FY 2012 Gallons per GSF per Year: 22.6; 34.6 percent reduction from the baseline
All energy and water data are reported as of FY 2012.
*FY 2003 is the standard baseline year used by the federal government to measure energy conservation progress.
**FY 2007 is the standard baseline year used by the federal government to measure water conservation progress.
The Environmental Science Center (ESC), completed in April 1999, houses the Region 3 Office of Analytical Services and Quality Assurance (OASQA) and the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) Analytical Chemistry and Microbiology Laboratories. The building contains more than 75 laboratories dedicated to organic and inorganic chemistry, biology, microbiology, and other scientific activities.
Unique Environmental Features
Federal High Performance Sustainable Building
- ESC is on track to meet the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Existing Buildings requirements (December 2008 version) in September 2013 and will become EPA's sixth existing building to meet the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings (Guiding Principles). While EPA has four facilities that meet the Guiding Principles through existing LEED® for new construction certifications, ESC is EPA's second facility anticipated to meet the Guiding Principles using EPA's own high performance sustainable buildings evaluation and certification process. To learn more about this process, read EPA's strategy for transforming existing buildings into high performamce sustainable buildings.
- In January 2011, EPA began to address the specific performance aspects in the Guiding Principles that ESC was not yet meeting. As part of this process, EPA developed a facility-specific, comprehensive Building Management Plan that serves as a reference on sustainable facility operations at ESC. EPA also evaluated facility compliance with ASHRAE Standards 55-2004 and 62.1-2007 to ensure environmental quality. Additionally, EPA evaluated and documented ESC's stormwater management system and developed maintenance procedures to ensure that the system continues to work effectively.
- In April 2009, EPA conducted a building sustainability assessment at ESC and identified the improvements necessary to achieve full compliance with the Guiding Principles. The assessment produced the task list and set the path for ESC to meet federal high performance sustainable building standards.
Many of the improvements discussed in the sections that follow were completed as part of the Guiding Principles certification process.
Energy Conservation: Existing Building Improvements
- As one of the facilities slated to receive EPA’s certification as a high performance sustainable building, ESC reduced its fiscal year (FY) 2012 energy intensity by 23.9 percent from the required FY 2003 baseline and 39.7 percent from its energy intensity in FY 1999, the first year of ESC’s operation.
- In May 2013, EPA initiated a lighting control system evaluation at ESC to assess upgrading the current lighting system to include automatic dimming when daylight provides sufficient lighting levels, reducing energy consumption.
- In March 2013, EPA completed an alternatives study to address the oversized chillers at ESC. The study analyzed the feasibility of replacing the existing system with a cooling tower and heat exchanger system combined with a smaller chiller to handle low-load cooling conditions. While this free cooling approach is life-cycle cost effective, other Agency energy projects have resulted in significantly better payback periods, so ESC’s potential chiller replacement will not be implemented in the short term.
- In March 2013, EPA completed the installation of smaller burners in each of the three original, oversized boilers to improve their operating efficiency. This represented a more economical approach to energy conservation than completely replacing all three boilers. This project is expected to reduce ESC's overall energy use by approximately 10 percent in FY 2013.
- In 2012, the ESC building automation system (BAS) and controls were retro-commissioned to ensure proper and efficient operation of all components and devices of the three supply air handling units and two exhaust systems.
Energy Conservation: Original Building Design
- ESC was EPA's first variable air volume (VAV) laboratory when it opened in 1999. VAV ventilation systems minimize energy use and heating and cooling costs while maintaining a safe work environment.
- Direct digital controls were installed to monitor the status of mechanical systems throughout the building to maintain efficiency.
- ESC's original design provided extensive daylighting in the office and laboratory areas, as well as occupancy sensors in private offices and small support spaces, though the original controls did not automatically dim.
- At the time ESC was designed, EPA required mechanical systems to serve a potential 25 percent laboratory expansion. In addition, the mechanical system design changed from a constant volume to a VAV ventilation system while still in the design process. These factors may have contributed to the design and construction of significantly oversized primary heating and cooling systems.
- ESC's building design represented a new level of complexity in mechanical and control systems for the Agency. ESC was the first facility that EPA commissioned—the Agency's first experience with the formal commissioning process. The commissioning effort increased the operating efficiency of the building and reduced energy use by approximately 20 percent. Commissioning proved to be an extremely valuable supplement to the traditional practice of relying on project architects and engineers to monitor construction and on operations and maintenance (O&M) personnel to confirm proper system operations. After EPA completed commissioning at ESC in 2001, the Agency made commissioning mandatory on all subsequent design and construction projects.
- EPA offsets 100 percent of the electricity consumption at ESC with renewable energy certificates (RECs) purchased through the Agency's blanket green power contract. Learn more about EPA's blanket green power contracts.
Water Conservation: Existing Building Improvements
- By successfully implementing water conservation projects, ESC has reduced its FY 2012 water intensity by 34.6 percent from the required FY 2007 baseline and nearly 70 percent from its water intensity in FY 1999, the first year of ESC's operation.
- In FY 2009, ESC installed a condensate recovery system, which routes water from the air handling unit (AHU) cooling coils to the cooling towers. This project saves approximately 660,000 gallons of water annually.
- In August 2009, EPA updated its water management plan for ESC (PDF) (18 pp, 270K, About PDF).
- In June 2008, ESC installed 0.5 gallon per minute (gpm) faucet aerators on lavatory faucets, saving approximately 47,000 gallons of water annually.
- In May 2008, ESC retrofitted restroom toilets with dual-flush valves, saving approximately 30,000 gallons of water annually.
- In FY 2008, ESC began reusing reverse osmosis-deionized (RO-DI) permeate water as boiler make-up water, saving the facility approximately 140,000 gallons of water annually.
- In FY 2001, EPA improved the facility's RO-DI water production management by switching from a continuous operating schedule to a more limited operating schedule that better aligned RO-DI water production with actual need, dramatically reducing water use.
Water Conservation: Original Building Design
- Native trees and shrubs were incorporated into the landscaping to avoid the use of an irrigation system. Grass at ESC is allowed to go dormant during the summer, and drip bags for trees and other plants are used only as necessary during extremely dry periods.
Stormwater Management: Existing Building Improvements
- In 2009, EPA employees at ESC helped construct a rain garden with native grasses, goldenrod, coneflowers, and rain chains to help reduce splash erosion. Rain gardens direct stormwater runoff from roof gutters into landscaped depressions beneath garden surfaces, where stormwater is filtered and detained before being absorbed by the surrounding environment.
Stormwater Management: Original Building Design
- Originally constructed in 1999, ESC's stormwater management system includes the following quality and quantity control features: grit separation, infiltration trenches, overland flow and bio-filtration to treat contaminants, oil, and trash from the parking lot, roofs, and grounds. Additional infiltration capacity, bio-filtration, and flood protection are provided by a sophisticated stormwater management pond that releases water slowly from the site after heavy rainfall events to decrease the risk of downstream flooding, prevent stream erosion, and protect water quality.
- With the passage of the Stormwater Management Act of 1982, Maryland was one of the first states to mandate stormwater management, protecting the Chesapeake Bay from environmental degradation. This state legislation informed EPA's design requirements for the ESC facility, which included an extensive and comprehensive stormwater management system.
Indoor Environmental Quality: Existing Building Improvements
- In 2012, EPA completed conformance testing against ASHRAE Standards 55-2004 and 62.1-2007 for thermal comfort and ventilation. The testing found a small number of operating anomalies that were addressed through building control system changes and minor equipment modifications.
Indoor Environmental Quality: Original Building Design
- Office and laboratory areas at ESC were originally designed with significant levels of daylighting to maximize outside views for building occupants.
- In FY 2012, ESC achieved a solid waste diversion rate of 71 percent for office and non-hazardous laboratory waste streams. ESC also has a successful onsite composting program that reduces the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfills.
For More Information About This Facility
Jeffrey Dodd (email@example.com)
701 Mapes Road
Fort Meade, MD 20755-5350
Phone: (410) 305-2654