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Sustainable Buildings - Maximizing Partnerships



Redwood National and State Parks, National Park Service, California

Project Point of Contact

Keith Bensen
707-465-7777
Keith_Bensen@nps.gov

Summary

Redwood National Park and California State Parks signed an MOU in 1996 to jointly manage the national park and three state parks under the name, Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). The stated common vision for RNSP includes the joint responsibility to manage the parks for the people in the most effective and efficient manner possible. One of the most concrete ways, literally, in which this joint management has manifested itself at RNSP is through the collaborative construction and retrofitting of buildings that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive. Seven joint projects have been completed over the past ten years with just the two agencies working in concert as well as through the inclusion of a third partner, the Schaatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State University.

Description

Redwood National Park and California State Parks (CSP) signed a memorandum of understanding in 1996 to jointly manage the national park and three state parks (Jedediah Smith, Prairie Creek and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Parks) under the name, "Redwood National and State Parks." The stated common mission and vision of the jointly managed parks is, "to preserve, protect and make available to all people, for their inspiration, enjoyment, and education, the ancient forests, scenic coastlines, prairies and streams, and their associated natural and cultural values which define this World Heritage Site.... Which we will manage for the people in the most effective and efficient manner possible...."

One of the most concrete ways, literally, in which this joint management has manifested itself at Redwood National and State Parks is through the collaborative construction and retrofitting of buildings that are energy efficient and environmentally sensitive. Joint projects have been completed over the past ten years with just the two agencies working in concert as well as through the inclusion of a third partner, the Schaatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State University. The SERC partnership was facilitated through the Department of Energy's University National Park Energy Partnership Program (UNPEPP). UNPEPP funds projects that allow local university environmental engineering students to design and sometimes build/retrofit energy efficient facilities within national parks. Through the Redwood National and State Parks partnership, this National Park Service (NPS) program has been extended into the three state parks.

Results and Achievements

The NPS and California State Parks (CSP) completed construction of a joint maintenance facility. The facility has been certified at the LEED Silver level; long lasting materials and sustainably harvested wood were used; construction waste was diverted from landfills through extensive on-site recycling; the NOC is powered by a 60kW photovoltaic (PV) system that provides over half the buildings' energy needs. The energy savings are 67,200 kWhrs/yr (60,500 lbs equivalent reduction carbon dioxide (CO2)/yr); over 140 tubular skylights and windows provide interior lighting and save 20,400kWHrs/yr of electricity (approximately 18,500 lbs equivalent reduction of CO2/ yr); no flush and low flush toilets and a water recycling system in the vehicle/equipment wash bay; extensive erosion control measures; exterior lighting minimized to limit impacts on the night sky and nearby residences; and travel distances have been eliminated or greatly reduced and equipment can be shared among work groups in one location resulting in fuel and Scope 3 emissions reductions.

SERC students completed a DOE University National Park Energy Partnership Program (UNPEPP) project that provided an energy audit and a full design for a PV system for the parks's existing joint HQ building. All HVAC and plug-in equipment efficiency recommendations were implemented resulting in 10,000 kWhrs/yr power savings (approximately 9,000 lbs equivalent reduction of CO2 /year); and the PV system generates 30,000 kWHrs/yr (CO2 equivalent reduction of 27,000 lbs/year).

Other Projects:

  • SERC students designed and helped construct an energy efficient state parks campground comfort station/shower with hot water and electricity provided entirely via solar power.

  • Students converted the water heating and power source for a remote state parks ranger residence that had been powered by an inefficient and polluting diesel generator and compressed natural gas thus reducing Scope 1 emissions.

  • SERC students designed and built a solar water heating system for the parks' main visitor center. The solar water heater system eliminated the need to truck in compressed natural gas from 30 miles away which results in both Scope 1 and Scope 3 emission savings.

  • CSP, with assistance from Redwood National Park, converted a large campground and staff housing complex from a diesel generator electrical system to a system tied to the electrical grid. The elimination of the large generator greatly reduced power costs, Scope 1 and Scope 3 emissions, and noise.

  • SERC students completed a UNPEPP project to design and install an ultra-efficient LED outdoor lighting system and a PV system to supplement the power used at the park's environmental education center. The system generates 2800 kWhrs/yr of electricity (approximately 2,500 lbs equivalent reduction of CO2/yr).

  • SERC students designed and installed a PV system linked with a hydrogen fuel cell to provide power to the park's remote fire lookout tower.

  • The partnership has resulted in a joining of the NPS Climate Friendly Parks program with the CSP Cool Parks program. Through these programs, both the NPS and CSP encourage parks in their respective systems to demonstrate low carbon emission technologies and activities.

Replicability

Environmentally conscious activities extend beyond sustainable buildings at Redwood National and State Parks. The parks' Green Committee has members from both agencies. The committee has successfully improved the park complex's recycling program and toxic waste disposal program as well as sought efficiencies in the transportation sector. Most recently the partnership has resulted in a joining of the NPS Climate Friendly Parks program with the CSP Cool Parks program. Through these programs, both the NPS and CSP encourage parks in their respective systems to demonstrate low carbon emission technologies and activities. A joint carbon emissions reduction and climate change visitor education plan will be completed in 2010 for Redwood National and State Parks.