FDA Seeks Big Time Energy Savings

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded its largest Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC)–$213 million–to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s White Oak Federal Research Center to implement energy efficient upgrades to its testing facility in Silver Spring, Maryland.

ESPCs are designed to help the federal government conserve energy and water and increase the use of clean renewable energy without adding to the national deficit. Under this program, an energy service company conducts a comprehensive energy audit for a federal facility and identifies opportunities to save energy. This company, in consultation with the federal agency, then designs and constructs a project that meets the agency’s needs and arranges the necessary financing to make it happen, while guaranteeing  that these improvements will generate energy cost savings equivalent to the cost of the upgrades over the term of the contract. (After the contract ends, all savings accrue to the agency.)

image via FDA

Energy efficient upgrades to the FDA’s Silver Spring testing facility will be conducted by Honeywell International, creating 2,300 temporary jobs, and will include, most notably, a combined heat and power plant. By using the building’s waste heat to generate power, this plant will produce 250,000 megawatt hours per year.

The project will also include upgrades to the building’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems, as well as its thermal envelope.  All told, these energy conservation and generation measures are expected to result in savings of at least 279 billion British-thermal-units per year for 20 years—equivalent to removing more than 4,000 cars from the road each year.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.