Two of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's energy efficiency projects—one focused on military family housing and one on the Laboratory's own office buildings—earned prestigious awards from DOE and the Federal Interagency Policy Committee.
Each year, the Federal Energy and Water Management Awards recognize outstanding contributions in energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and cost-beneficial landscaping.
The energy bandit leads the way
The first project that received an award was an outreach campaign targeting energy-efficient behaviors among 12,000 residents in military housing at the U.S. Army's Fort Lewis Installation in Washington state. This joint Laboratory-Army project led to a 10 percent reduction in energy use and saved the Army the equivalent of more than $130,000 in energy costs in fiscal year 1999.
Complete with an energy bandit—a cartoon villain who steals energy from people's homes—the "Operation Energy" campaign urged residents to adopt behaviors such as turning thermostats down at night and running full wash loads. A survey showed that as a result of the campaign, 92 percent of residents began doing something new to use energy more efficiently.
The program's success formed the basis for guidelines for implementing a similar program at other military bases.
Office sweet office
The second award-winning project involved the Environmental Technology Building (ETB) and the Energy and Environmental Sciences Building on Pacific Northwest's campus.
The team responsible for recommissioning the heating and cooling systems at these buildings discovered that some energy management control settings were incorrect and some of the control sensors were not functioning, causing the systems to work improperly and inefficiently.
Adjustments and repairs not only increased occupant comfort, but also helped save an estimated $95,000 in utility costs in fiscal year 1999 by reducing energy use by 3.2 million kilowatt-hours. The biggest savings were in the ETB, where energy use in 1998 (before the recommissioning) was 40 percent higher than in 1995.
The Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.