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Mr. Steven Holland




Reclamation Research Facility Achieves 53% Energy Reduction, Brackish Groundwater National Desalinization Research Facility, Bureau of Reclamation, New Mexico

Point of Contact

Mr. Steven Holland
(575) 443-6557
sholland@usbr.gov

Summary

In FY 2012, the Bureau of Reclamation's Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, New Mexico, reduced its energy intensity by 290,880 kilowatt hours (kWh), or 53.6 percent of British thermal units (BTU) per square foot, from the previous year's baseline.  The reduction was achieved even while the facility was supporting a record number of researchers.  This impressive energy reduction was achieved through the ingenuity and hard work of Mr. Steven Holland.  Mr. Holland was given a goal by his manager to reduce energy by at least 10 percent.  By thoroughly investigating and understanding the building's systems, Mr. Holland found and implemented low-cost operations and maintenance practices that resulted in far greater energy reduction than the goal, proving that energy reduction is possible without significant investment. The capital cost for the improvements totaled approximately $784.00.  Mr. Holland was nominated for an individual award because he took an assignment and far exceeded his management's expectations.  He did this through his personal drive, determination, creativity and innovation. BGNDRF was also the winner of the Department of Energy's 2012 Better Buildings Federal Award.

Description

The Bureau of Reclamation's Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, New Mexico, opened in 2007 to enhance the study and development of advanced water treatment technologies using brackish water sources. The central research building consists of 15,200 square feet located on 40 acres of land and is composed of office space, conference rooms, a laboratory, indoor test bays, a technician shop, and a variety of other rooms.
 
Shortly after Electronics Technician, Mr. Steven Holland, was hired, he was immediately tasked by his manager, Mr. Randall Shaw with reducing energy use.  He was given a target of 10 percent reduction over the prior year.  In the summer of 2011, Mr. Holland conducted an analysis of the facility's energy use and knew there was room for improvement.  He first focused on addressing energy waste at BGNDRF by looking at inefficient operations.  After reviewing technical manuals and facility drawings to better understand his new facility and determine what changes could be made, Mr. Holland implemented a series of modifications to focus on limiting energy consumption.  Many of these changes implemented were said by prior technicians to have not been possible.
 
After some initial success, Mr. Holland and his manager, Mr. Shaw, became aware of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Better Buildings Federal Award and thought BGNDRF could maintain its momentum and reduce energy even further.  The Better Buildings Federal Award recognizes the Federal government's highest performing buildings through a competition to reduce annual energy intensity (BTU per square foot).  Participants record their energy use through EPA's Energy Star Portfolio Manager. During 2012, Mr. Holland implemented a series of operational; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); and lighting changes that resulted in a 53.6 percent energy reduction over 2011. The total capital costs of the changes were less than $1,000. Reclamation's Sustainable Buildings Coordinator and Mr. Randall Shaw are nominating Mr. Holland for an individual award because he took an assignment and far exceeded his management's expectations.  He did this through drive, determination, creativity and innovation.

Results and Achievements

The improvements Mr. Holland implemented at BGNDRF included:

  • Rewiring indoor 24-hour lighting to wall switches that can be turned on as needed.
  • Rewiring exterior parking lot lighting so that 30 of 37 dusk-to-dawn lights were deactivated two hours after dusk, resulting in an approximate energy savings of 61 kWh per day.  Mr. Holland personally spent countless hours pulling underground wires.
  • Reset the HVAC control system software for occupied and unoccupied modes.
  • Rearranged HVAC duct work to and from the electrical transformer and server rooms to take advantage of the waste heat for heating the test bay area in the winter; rerouted the duct work in the summer.  Again, Mr. Holland personally re-routed the duct work himself.
  • Reduced the temperature setting on the heat trace used on insulated plumbing throughout the site's 40 acres from 40°F to 32°F
  • Readjusted the hot water heater from 135°F to 115°F
  • Opened window blinds on the south side of the building to improve the solar heat gain in office areas during the winter.


The results of these improvements saved 290,880 kWh compared with the prior year's energy usage and 53.6% BTU per square foot savings over the start of the competition.  The capital cost for the improvements totaled approximately $784.00.  The primary cost incurred were time/FTE for Mr. Holland's manual labor.

Replicability

This project represents an outstanding example of the opportunities and benefits of implementing the "low-hanging fruit" energy reduction strategies at any building or facility. The energy field promotes always seeking energy conservation and efficiency first prior to large investment in major HVAC renovations and/or installation of renewable energy.  The strategies implemented at BGNDRF offer cheap and effective ways of reducing costs, natural resources, and carbon emissions.  It also demonstrates that, regardless of size, complexity or budget, there is always room to analyze and implement efficiency measures similar to those at BGNDRF.
This project also exemplifies that in order to achieve the President's sustainability goals, we must have:  1) managers that support sustainability and set strategic goals, 2) qualified, dedicated and motivated staff such as Mr. Holland,  and 3) and a culture that encourages employees to go beyond what's "been done before" and apply creativity and innovation to solve complex problems.