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Heartland Region Number 1 in Energy Reduction

Nov. 6, 2014

Across the Heartland Region, conservation efforts are producing positive results year-round. That success is reflected in utility rebates and credits earned through the efforts of Region 6 field offices and building managers, as well as in GSA data that shows Region 6 is No. 1 in the country in energy reduction and in monthly energy building reports.

Rebates and Credits

The R6 Energy Team reports that from fiscal year 2007 through FY14, the region received $721,000 in utility rebate checks (BA 63) through the efforts of field office staff and facility operations personnel. Here are the approximate amounts of those rebates, by field office:

--Iowa – $580,000

--Kansas City North – $84,000

--Nebraska – $52,000

--St. Louis West – $5,000

Those rebates ultimately funded 11 energy- or water-related projects across the region. Having the rebate funding available helped the region maximize project dollars and complete more improvements without having to tap other funds.

Susan Hall of the Region 6 Energy Team pointed out that not every utility offers a rebate program, but where they do, field offices and building managers work hand-in-hand with the utility to obtain the rebates. Sometimes the rebate is not a check, but is in the form of credits applied toward a facility’s bill. Either way, this requires coordination between GSA staff and the utility company from project conception through implementation.

In a recent credit example, the Kansas Field Office received approval for a Non-Sewered Wastewater Credit for the Robert J. Dole Federal Courthouse. The credit from the Water Pollution Control Division in Kansas City, Kan., essentially deducts the water used by the cooling tower from the sanitary sewer volume, resulting in a credit to the sewer charges on the courthouse’s overall water/sewer bill. This requires monthly and annual cooling tower meter readings submitted to the utility company. The deduction should be a significant credit during the cooling season.

Recent rebate examples include $2,934 at the Robert V. Denney Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Lincoln, Neb., for installation of restroom motion sensors, and $19,775 to the Neal Smith Federal Building in Des Moines, Iowa, for a retro-commissioning project.

“Both (rebates and credits) are ways that our field offices and building staffs are stretching our budgets and saving energy and water with their efforts and ideas, to not only help us make our energy measure, but saving money by decreasing utility usage,” Hall said.

Reductions in Energy, Water Usage

The latest available data on energy consumption for GSA-managed buildings and offices shows that, for August, rolling 12-month usage — for the fifth consecutive month — Region 6 was No. 1 nationally with an 8.4 percent reduction in overall energy usage compared with FY2013. That performance far exceeded the national energy reduction target of 3 percent.

For water usage in August, Region 6 posted a reduction of 0.15 percent compared with FY 2013. That result followed four months of increased usage. However, the Heartland’s overall average usage of 8.0 gallons per gross square foot (gal/gsf) is substantially less than the national GSA goal of 13.14 gal/gsf.

Usage at all Region 6 field offices and 83 percent (25 of 30) of the Heartland’s water-tracked buildings are below the national goal. Seventy percent (21) of the 30 water-tracked buildings are showing decreased water usage compared with FY13.

“The facility operations specialists and the field office staffs are the ‘unsung heroes’ of energy and water savings with their continued efforts and ideas,” said Linda Baschnagel, energy program engineer. “GSA cannot reduce usage without their help!”

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