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VA Installs Energy Management System, Expects $3.5m Over 5 Years

The Department of Veterans Affairs has installed an environmental management system (EMS) at its central office that it expects will save taxpayers $3.5 million over the next five years.

The EMS installation at the 94-year-old office is part of a larger initiative to improve energy management across the Washington, DC area. The system collects and reports 3,000 energy data points every 10 seconds, including main electrical and water services, lighting, plug loads, air conditioning, cooling towers, motors and chillers. The EMS analyzes these data in real time to identify usage patterns and allow for forecasting of potential cost-savings scenarios.

The project is a partnership between two offices within the VA — Information and Technology and Human Resources & Administration — and the General Services Administration. The VA says its EMS is easily adaptable for use by other government agencies, especially those with large building portfolios such as the GSA and the Department of Defense.

In 2009, the White House issued executive orders to set goals for federal agencies to improve their environmental, energy and economic performance. Following the executive orders, the VA established an initiative for using emerging technologies to understand energy demands and help manage energy data for day-to-day and strategic goals.

In July, the VA awarded Utility Systems Solutions a $669,000 contract to thermally repair 1,452 feet of concrete trenches at the VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., housing a significant portion of the campus’s steam-delivery system. The system, which includes steam and condensate piping and steam traps, is located in trenches between nine buildings at the VA medical campus.

A month earlier VA awarded Eaton Corporation three contracts totaling $10 million, aimed at enhancing energy efficiency in 200 of its buildings. The contracts will include the retro-commissioning of 15 medical campuses with nearly 15.4 million square feet of space in VA’s Integrated Service Network in New England, New York, New Jersey and the upper Midwest.

Last year the department began installing PV systems at five medical centers in Oklahoma City; Temple, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Loma Linda, Calif. and west Los Angeles. These contracts total $56.7 million. The projects are slated for completion by the end of summer.

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