VA forecasts $3.5M in early energy savings from new system

The Veterans Affairs Department has installed a sophisticated Environmental Management System (EMS) at its central office, which VA said will mean an estimated $3.5 million in energy savings over the next five years.

VA’s 94-year-old central office location is a case study on how information technology and building facilities can work together to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs in older government buildings, the VA announcement said.

EMS 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 system analyzes these data points in real time to identify usage patterns and allow for credible forecasting of potential cost-savings scenarios.

EMS -- built through a partnership between the VA’s Office of Information and Technology and Office of Human Resources and Administration (HRA) and the General Services Administration -- is adaptable by other government agencies, especially those with large building portfolios such as GSA and the Defense Department.

“EMS provides us an opportunity to reduce our energy use, save taxpayer money, and create a model for energy management across disparate facilities in the federal government,” said Assistant Secretary for the Office of Information and Technology Roger Baker, in the announcement. “Information technology can play a valuable role in adapting performance data to simple, actionable visualizations for short-term and long-term change in energy management.”

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