Advanced Metering Ensures Cost Effective and Efficient Federal Facilities
Posted by Sarah L. Wenninger, Certified Energy Manager, Public Buildings Service, New England Region
In the same way advanced degrees help the workforce improve their value, GSA’s advanced metering systems create value for the federal government, by making federal facilities cost-effective and energy efficient. In line with GSA Acting Administrator’s new mission and priorities for the agency, we are implementing building operations that meet energy and water reduction goals while getting the most value for government and the American taxpayer.
Advanced metering systems are designed to monitor and/or store energy consumption data for specific building systems or the entire building. This data can be used to monitor energy use and allow building operators to take corrective action immediately. These systems also comply with programs sponsored by local power companies, enabling utilities to reduce power to participating buildings when demand on the power grid is high, ultimately saving the New England region $316k annually in taxpayer dollars.
In the New England region, 26 buildings have systems monitoring electricity and water consumption, 11 buildings monitor natural gas, 5 monitor steam and 3 monitor oil. By the end of 2013 there will be an additional 17 buildings, 23 chiller plants, and 30 cooling towers and condensers with advanced metering systems installed. Early success for the program came from identifying buildings that were operating on holidays and weekends, which allowed building operators to take corrective action.
At the Norris Cotton Federal Building in Manchester, NH, the property manager uses advanced metering dashboards on a daily basis. After a few weeks of getting to know his building’s typical energy and water-load profile, it became easy to spot issues. Using the advanced metering system, a misfiring toilet flushometer was identified. The building operator surveyed the bathrooms, located the malfunctioning device and fixed it before a tenant notified GSA of the problem. Finding the problem on the first day saved GSA hundreds of gallons of water, and taxpayers the cost of losing all that water! Moving forward, GSA will use data from these systems to make informed decisions to conserve energy and water, thereby reducing the government’s environmental and fiscal footprint. Already viewed as an expert in the field, other agencies have been reaching out to GSA for guidance and assistance in installing similar systems. In New England, GSA has been working in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to get similar systems online in their local offices. The agency’s commitment to innovation and a more sustainable government have positioned GSA as a leader in energy efficiency and an effective steward of taxpayer dollars.