Federal energy managers claim 11 percent cut

Federal energy managers claim 11 percent cut

FEMP's Brad Gustafson talks to federal facilities managers during an Aug. 30 webcast from San Francisco's Presidio.

Agency employees across the country tuned in via the Web last month to hear Federal Energy Management Program officials describe ways they have cut electricity consumption in federal buildings in California.

FEMP's Assessment of Load and Energy Reduction Techniques (ALERT) teams helped 25 participating sites shave an average of 11 percent off their power consumption, FEMP utility program manager Brad Gustafson said during a one-day workshop in San Francisco.

FEMP aired three hours of the 10-hour workshop over the Web during the agency's first live webcast.

After California's rolling power blackouts earlier this year, Energy Department officials sent teams to agencies with operations in that state to track ways to save power [GCN, May 21, Page 1].

Between May and July, six ALERT teams paid two-day visits to 25 sites to assess reductions in peak electrical loads and assure power availability for critical operations. Team hosts included the Defense, Energy and Veterans Affairs departments, the IRS, the Postal Service and NASA.

Low or no cost

Efforts focused on low- and no-cost measures such as tuning air conditioning systems and adjusting hours of operation, FEMP director Beth Shearer said. The teams looked for air-conditioning adjustments that cost no more than $100 per kilowatt saved.

The most common ways of saving energy included replacing or retrofitting light fixtures, eliminating unnecessary equipment operation, cleaning air conditioning coils and optimizing temperature controls, Gustafson said.

The ALERT program will continue as the need arises, Shearer said. Parts of the Northeast and Northwest may face load problems in the coldest months, for example.

Energy will continue to support ALERT in fiscal 2002 because the Bush administration wants agencies to demonstrate leadership in energy efficiency, said Sara Farrar-Nagy, a project leader at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

But FEMP's budget is decreasing, and there will be tradeoffs, Farrar-Nagy said. By providing training and tools, FEMP can teach agencies to perform their own load-reduction assessments.

Lessons learned include a need to spend more than two days at each site and to include experts in heating, ventilation and air conditioning on the assessment team. Follow-up with building managers also proved crucial, Shearer said.

Three hours

FEMP conducted the webcast from the Officers' Club at the Presidio, a former Army complex that is now a National Park Service recreation area. The video services company ITN SignalStream of San Francisco streamed the three-hour webcast.

Videographers used a three-camera setup to intersperse views of the live audience with views of the speakers.

Gustafson and other workshop speakers fielded questions from attendees and from around the country via e-mail and fax. Inquiries came from as far away as a Veterans Affairs hospital in Northampton, Mass. 'That was probably the most interesting part of the webcast,' Shearer said.

Although 106 viewers preregistered for the webcast, FEMP has not yet determined how many spur-of-the-moment viewers logged in.

FEMP also made slides available over the Web in Adobe Portable Document Format.

'I thought it was a successful way of getting information to a large number of people without having to be all at the same spot,' Shearer said.

FEMP has archived the webcast at eren.doe.gov/femp/resources/training/webcast.html.

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above