Glean some efficiency best practices from DOE’s 2017 Federal Energy and Water Management Award winners

by Brianna Crandall — November 6, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Energy recognized 27 winners across the federal government this week with the 2017 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards. These annual awards are presented to recognize outstanding achievements in energy and water efficiency, renewable energy, and fleet management from within the federal government, honoring federal employees for their efforts to cut energy waste and advance America’s progress toward energy independence, resiliency, and security, while advancing their agencies’ mission-related goals.

Some of the specific initiatives the winners were recognized for include:

  • Consolidating existing thermal infrastructure with energy-saving variable-frequency drive chillers, condensing boilers and a heat-recovery chiller;
  • Installing a comprehensive building automation system (BAS) to connect all of the buildings on a campus;
  • Installing a state-of-the-art solar photovoltaic (PV) power system;
  • Transitioning from coal power to grid electricity and fuel oil heat;
  • Completing a xeriscaping project that converted three acres of turf to drought-resistant landscaping and a passively irrigated field; and
  • Improving data center power usage effectiveness by 33% by reconfiguring servers and power distribution units, and installing a new hot-aisle containment system, lighting, and computer room air conditioners.

As the nation’s largest energy consumer and with more than 350,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles, the federal government has an opportunity and responsibility to lead by example, notes DOE. Through their innovative efforts, the winners — including staff serving the U.S. Air Force, Army, Army Corps of Engineers, Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Logistics Agency, Marine Corps, and Navy; the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, and Transportation; the General Services Administration; and the Environmental Protection Agency — netted an energy savings equivalent to removing more than 303,500 cars from the road for one year or eliminating the average annual energy use from more than 153,000 households.

Five individuals were recognized by their agencies for their career-long, committed efforts to help the federal government meet energy and water management goals. Seventeen individuals and organizations implemented innovative projects and programs, resulting in an annual savings of 6.5 trillion British thermal units (BTUs) of energy, 1.1 million gallons of water, and almost $191.5 million in fiscal year 2016 alone.

According to DOE, many of the winners utilized performance contracts, which allow agencies to make facility improvements with no added cost to the taxpayer and are critical to achieving America’s energy savings goals. Four additional winners were recognized specifically for their innovative efforts to overcome barriers and implement advanced solutions toward awarding performance contracts, and one team is being recognized for a project that led to significant improvements in a data center’s energy and operational efficiency.

The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP), which administers these awards, plays a central role in helping federal agencies to reduce energy and water use. In the 2016 fiscal year, the federal government improved the energy intensity of its buildings by 5.3% relative to 2015. FEMP also reports that the government generated or purchased — using renewable energy certificates (RECs) — more than 12.4% of its electricity from renewable resources and reduced its water use by 23.6% from the 2007 baseline.

For a complete profile of this year’s winners and to find out more about their specific energy- and water-saving initiatives, visit the FEMP Web site.