Thursday, April 26, 2007

That IS a lot of energy!

Energy Use Operational Review Update

Energy use and management is significant management cost and responsibility for all state agencies. Last fiscal year, Virginia state government spent approximately $240 million to provide energy for state facilities and approximately $40 million for transportation fuels. Energy use therefore is one of the crosscutting operational reviews of state operation we are undertaking.

We set up an Energy Use Operations Review Team to look at best practices in private business and government and existing practices in Virginia state government, and is developing recommendations that will reduce energy costs in state operations. Delegate Harvey Morgan and Senator Emmett Hanger oversee the team’s work. The Governor’s Senior Advisor for Energy Policy is coordinating the team’s work. Team members include representatives from the Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Department of General Services, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech

Governor Tim Kaine also issued Executive Order 48 (2007) on April 5, 2007, addressing energy efficiency in state government. This EO sets out a goal for executive branch agencies and institutions to reduce the annual cost of non-renewable energy purchases by at least 20 percent by fiscal year 2010. This will help to reduce the environmental consequences of that level of energy consumption and save taxpayer dollars. The EO directs state government to use proven and innovative conservation technologies and energy procurement processes.

The Energy Use Operational Review team has reached out to outside experts for information on best practices. The team has talked with representatives from Wal-Mart, Food Lion, Meade Westvaco, the federal Energy Star Program, and the Federal Energy Management Program. The team also has gathered information on existing practices, strengths and weaknesses, in state operations, and ideas for improvement from representatives of the Department of General Services, Department of Corrections, University of Virginia, Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, Department of Accounts, Department of Planning and Budget, Department of Human Resource Management, Department of Rail and Pubic Transit, and Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy

The team found that we are using many best practices in parts of state operations. A few areas of note include coordinated purchasing of energy and fuels through private energy marketers and centralized state purchase agreements, widespread use of energy savings performance contracting, training facility managers for energy management, and use of agency transit incentive programs.

The team has identified a few new or expanded use of best practices, including, better coordination of energy management functions across agencies and institutions, expanded use of coordinated purchasing of utilities and fuels, particularly natural gas, participation in PJM Interconnection program demand control programs, broader use of building commissioning and re-commissioning, certification and more widespread training of and coordination among agency energy managers, constructing new buildings and major renovations to LEED or Energy Star standards, and purchase of Energy Star equipment wherever available.

The Energy Use Operational Team is drafting its full set of recommendations from this review. We welcome additional advice and input from readers of the VACostCutting blog. Please share your ideas with the folks at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy who are providing support to this study. Please send you ideas to me at Please label your e-mails “Energy Use Savings from VACostCutting blog” so we can know the ideas are coming from blog readers.


  • I saw a recent article in Government Computing News: GSA paves way for IT-based buildings that explains how the state of Missouri is achieving upwards to $30M in savings using some IT/Energy solution, on existing infrastructure, from some firm named Gridlogix.

    The state seems to have a pretty novel approach to achieve a large near term savings. While the Ice Caps melt, maybe its time to look for better technology oriented solutions.

    By Anonymous Jim Bell, at 6/10/2007 3:07 PM  

  • Scrubbing at the macro level on paper is nice, but simply walking around and taking a look at what has been built and specified will be an eye opener if you know what to look for.

    ex. Infrequently used storage closets with $100 fluorescent fixtures where a $1.20 plastic lamp holder and a $3 CFL bulb would do just fine.

    ex. Specifying an expensive 250W metal halide exterior fixture where an ordinary one with a $3 CFL bulb would do the job perfectly well.

    A/C unit wiring is almost always done with the code minimum wire size -- this results in the wire running very warm when the unit is running.

    All this waste heat due to wire resistance just heats environmental spaces and results in compressor motors burning out becase the voltage drops at the end of long wire runs can be considerable. Upsizing the A/C wire one size beyond the minimums during construction saves you money every day from that point forward.

    By Blogger Purple Avenger, at 6/16/2007 6:29 PM  

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