Partners in Innovation–Denver Federal Center’s DC Microgrid Project
November 18, 2021
When it comes to energy conservation, GSA Region 8 is a pioneer. Among its many energy-related measures are a photovoltaic array at the Denver Federal Center (DFC) that provides 22% of the DFC's power, electric vehicle charging stations, neighborhood electric vehicles (NEV), and lighting that complies with the International Dark-Sky Association standards.
Region 8's most recent endeavor at the DFC, the DC Microgrid project, is a partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), private industry and a local small business. Operating in affiliation with GSA's Green Proving Ground Program (GPG), the pilot project underscores several of GSA's priorities:
- supporting President Biden's climate agenda
- directing work toward U.S. companies
- providing opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses
The microgrid at DFC's Building 56 will tie a DC controller to the existing rooftop photovoltaic system and install a battery and new DC lighting, which will allow a wing of the building to function fully (off the grid) in the event of a power outage. The pilot project will evaluate the viability of deploying and operating DC microgrids with different property management and operational control strategies, such as daylight harvesting and the use of occupancy sensors.
Currently, everything at the Denver Federal Center is AC powered. But new technologies such as LED lighting and solar panels operate on DC current. Not having to convert from DC to AC can save about 10% electricity.
The project is already making an impact. President Biden spoke recently about the importance of Buy-America and the Federal Acquisition Regulation rules, and the DC microgrid at DFC's Building 56 was mentioned in the corresponding White House Fact Sheet.
To learn more, read the DC Microgrid Preliminary Technology Assessment. [PDF - 189 KB]