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Federal Prisons to Reduce Water Use by 42%

Two federal prisons are reducing their energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions by incorporating solar power and energy and water conservation methods, including one facility that plans to reduce water use by up to 42 percent, according to an Associated Press report.

Constellation Energy announced that its energy projects and services division is completing the development and construction of two comprehensive energy projects at federal correctional institutions in Fairton, N.J., and Petersburg, Va.

Both projects combine energy and water conservation measures and also incorporate renewable technologies to reduce utility costs and improve sustainability of the facilities.

Structured as energy savings performance contracts, the combined annual cost savings of more than $2.2 million created by the guaranteed reductions in energy and water usage will be used to finance the infrastructure upgrades of both projects, according to Constellation.

FCI Fairton, N.J., combined a solar photovoltaic power system with facility-wide electrical upgrades, efficient lighting, smart energy controls, water conservation measures, and improvements to the boiler and chiller plants.

The combined projects will result in FCI Fairton reducing energy use by an estimated 27 percent and water use by 42 percent, creating more than $800,000 in estimated annual energy cost saving.

The new FCI Fairton solar installation generates 400 kilowatts of electricity. Generating the same amount of power from fossil fuel sources would result in the annual release of 500 tons of carbon dioxide, 3,800 pounds of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide.

FCC Petersburg, Va., installed an on-site biomass heating system–the first such system at a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility–as well as a rooftop solar photovoltaic system, and a geothermal heat pump system.

The facility expects to save 70 million gallons of water annually through new efficiency infrastructure and reduce energy usage by 34 billion Btu, resulting in $1.4 million in annual cost savings. The renewable systems deployed at FCC Petersburg are estimated to avoid the release of more than 5,800 pounds of nitrogen oxide and 3,400 tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the project. FCC Petersburg will also be using a fleet of electric vehicles at the facility to further reduce emissions.

Federal facilities throughout the country are attempting to reduce energy consumption while switching to renewable solutions. The U.S. Air National Guard is increasingly investing in green energy as it seeks to reach its goal of generating 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, while federal agencies spent more than $1.7 billion last year on energy-efficiency projects, increasing their environmental spend by more than an 80 percent from 2008,

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