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One Cool Change at Energy HQ

July 6, 2012 - 3:49pm

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Officials from the Energy Department and NORESCO cut the ribbon at the new chiller plant in the Forrestal building. The chiller is expected to save $600,000 per year from the Department's energy bills. | Energy Department photo

Officials from the Energy Department and NORESCO cut the ribbon at the new chiller plant in the Forrestal building. The chiller is expected to save $600,000 per year from the Department's energy bills. | Energy Department photo

The Forrestal Building, which stands as the centerpiece of the Department’s Headquarters complex, has recently undergone a change that will save the American taxpayers an estimated $600,000 every year.

“Through the installation of the new chiller plant, we’re saving money on our air conditioning bills with more efficient equipment while providing much more reliable air conditioning to our critical facilities”, Peter O’Konski, the director for the Department’s Office of Administration said. That’s good for our environment, our customers and our bottom line.”

The chiller plant was constructed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract, a public-private partnership that allowed the Department to apply industry best practices and use private financing for the project.  The financing costs are recovered from energy savings.

The partnership is also ushering in improvements like LED exterior lights, steam trap repairs and a variable air volume system that are expected to save $59.5 million in the long term.

These improvements complement the Secretary’s energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, established in support of Executive Order 13514 Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance.  

As another visible sign of the commitment to sustainability, the Department recently replaced its aging roofs at Forrestal with new, cool roofs that reflect heat and reduce the energy needed for cooling – saving more money and improving comfort.  A similar cool roof installation is in the works for the Germantown office this year as well.

All of this is in an effort to walk the walk and make our operations more efficient.

As the Secretary put it when he announced an initiative to install cool roofs at DOE facilities in 2010, “By demonstrating the benefits of cool roofs on our facilities, the federal government can lead the nation toward more sustainable building practices, while reducing the federal carbon footprint and saving money for taxpayers."

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