recommended reading

How One Agency Juggles Rising Energy Bills With Shrinking Budgets

Service members fix lights atop a hangar at Coast Guard Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico.

Service members fix lights atop a hangar at Coast Guard Station Borinquen in Puerto Rico. // National Guard

This is the seventh in a series of sustainability case studies developed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

It is no secret that energy costs are steadily growing as federal budgets are shrinking. That’s why, according to the Coast Guard’s Energy Program manager, Daniel Gore, “it is imperative that federal agencies identify creative solutions for difficult obstacles.”

One obstacle to making the upgrades necessary to save energy in the long run is getting the funding up front. Creative solutions include such innovative financing tools as energy savings performance contracts. ESPCs allow agencies to partner with a private sector energy service company to implement energy-savings measures without making significant outlays. The company pays for building and equipment upgrades and then recoups its investment by receiving a portion of the energy cost savings realized over an agreed-upon period of time.

Energy challenges were particularly pronounced at the Coast Guard's shore-based operations in Puerto Rico, where the cost of electricity is more than double the U.S. average because of the island's dependence on expensive fuel imports.

In 2010, the Coast Guard used an ESPC to substantially upgrade 360 aging buildings and housing units across three facilities in Puerto Rico. The project wiped out a 10-year backlog of deferred maintenance, replacing uninsulated and leaking roofs while also installing new lighting and energy controls plus three megawatts of solar photovoltaic power.

The payoff from the project was substantial: a 53 percent reduction in energy consumption, which equates to $2.2 million in annual savings. These dollar savings are guaranteed under the ESPC. If in a given year the energy savings are not realized, the energy service company will reimburse the Coast Guard for the difference.

The shift to onsite solar power also improved electric reliability to Air Station Borinquen, which is on the end of the island’s electricity grid and is vulnerable to outages. It's now producing nearly 85 percent of the energy it consumes via solar panels.

One additional benefit from the project not only saved money but also improved morale of the personnel based at Sector San Juan. The upgrades meant the Coast Guard no longer had to pay “premium” benefits because of the inadequate, uncomfortable housing facilities.

Federal agencies have worked with energy service companies to implement nearly 300 ESPC projects since 1998. The Puerto Rico project stands out for its scope -- it's the largest Coast Guard ESPC project as measured by cost savings -- and its inclusion of renewable energy.

The Coast Guard is a leading by example in maximizing the use of innovative financing to cut its energy consumption and costs and advance its sustainability goals.

Read the full case study here

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.