Saturday, January 18, 2014

Energy Department Announces Winner of the 2013 Better Buildings Federal Award Competition
The Energy Department today announced that the General Services Administration’s (GSA) United States Court House in Wichita, Kansas is the winner of the 2013 Better Buildings Federal Award. The Better Buildings Federal Award challenges agencies to achieve the greatest reduction in annual energy intensity, or energy consumed per gross square foot. This year’s winner cut its energy intensity by 20% and saved over $40,000 in utility costs in the 12 month competition period.

Building on past energy efficiency improvements funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, GSA Region 6 implemented energy efficiency upgrades, including a cost-effective re-tuning of building control systems and equipment, to boost energy efficiency in the 80-year-old Wichita Court House in Wichita, Kansas. GSA also provided training and technical support to the building staff on how best to manage and sustain the energy efficiency improvements and also encouraged Court House tenants to reduce energy waste within their work areas. Despite the summer’s heat waves and the winter’s cold snaps, GSA cut energy use by 20% in the building while maintaining a satisfaction rate among tenants of more than 90%, according to a GSA Tenant Satisfaction Survey.

Finalists from the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, and the Departments of State and Energy also competed in this year’s race to reduce their buildings’ energy intensity. When selecting finalists, the Energy Department's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) considered energy efficiency measures deployed in each facility; best practices in energy management; and building operations undertaken by facility personnel, as well as organizational programs and tools to encourage broad sustainability efforts.

Beginning in 2014, the Better Buildings Federal Award will be presented to the federal facility that achieves the highest ranking in the Environmental Protection Agency's National Building Competition, Battle of the Buildings, which challenges federal, commercial, and industrial buildings to achieve the greatest reduction in annual energy use intensity. Participants will measure, track, and report their monthly 2014 energy consumption using EPA's online energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager, and compare it to calendar year 2013 usage.

In 2012, GSA Region 6 undertook a Targeted E4 (Energy Efficiency Expert Evaluation) project to "target" no-cost and low-cost retuning of building control systems and equipment to improve energy efficiency. The Targeted E4 provided technical support to the building staff and operations and maintenance (O&M) contractors to assist in retuning building controls schedules and sequences and to provide training on how best to manage and sustain the improvements.

Targeted E4 energy-saving retuning actions included:
  • Static pressure and supply air temperature reset on the air-handling units
  • Optimal Start for all air-handling units
  • Zero minimum outside air when AHUs operate during unoccupied periods
  • Seasonal manual adjustments to chiller and pump valves
The following low-cost energy savings measures were also implemented by the Wichita staff in conjunction with the Targeted E4 Project:
  • Integration of chiller control with the building automation system which allowed chillers to be scheduled "as needed" rather than run on 24/7 schedule during the summer cooling season. This modification also enabled the BAS system to control chilled water temperature reset thereby providing additional savings during non-peak cooling months
  • Installation of timer controls on parking garage air handling make-up air and exhaust fans not controlled by the BAS system allowed the building staff to synchronize the garage AHU operation with tenant occupancy and thereby reduce unnecessary after-hours equipment usage
  • Reduced run times of building exhaust fans by adjusting existing timers
  • Installed digital timers on parking garage lighting circuits, allowing more precise timer control while reducing hours of illumination
  • Installed LED bulbs on several lights that are on night light circuits.
The GSA U.S. Wichita Courthouse building manager shared information about the Targeted E4 retuning project with the building tenants during the course of the year. As a result, many tenants became engaged in efforts to reduce energy within their work areas. In addition, the Wichita janitorial contractor was diligent in monitoring to be sure lights and equipment were turned off after hours.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
December 17, 2013

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