Sheriff's Department completes major energy, water conservation project

The Hampden County (MA) Sheriff's Department and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management recently completed a 2-year energy and water conservation project that will greatly reduce energy costs and the facility's environmental impact. Working with Constellation Energy's Projects & Services Group, the Sheriff's Department made significant improvements in the energy efficiency of its buildings and infrastructure-measures that are expected to reduce power and water costs...

• $550,000 in annual energy and water cost savings fund the cost of necessary infrastructure upgrades

LUDLOW, MA, Sept. 15, 2008 -- The Hampden County Sheriff's Department and the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) recently completed a 2-year energy and water conservation project that will greatly reduce energy costs and the facility's environmental impact. Working with Constellation Energy's Projects & Services Group, the Hampden County Sheriff's Department made significant improvements in the energy efficiency of its buildings and infrastructure-measures that are expected to reduce power and water costs by approximately $550,000 annually. Savings created by the initiative are used to fund the cost of the new infrastructure, resulting in no upfront costs for Hampden County or taxpayers.

The conservation efforts at the correctional facility and administrative offices also qualified the project for more than $222,000 in utility rebates from Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) and Bay State Gas. The energy and water efficiency retrofit was accomplished almost entirely using contractors based in Hampden County and Massachusetts.

"We're successfully addressing rising energy costs, replacing equipment at the end of its useful life, and the environmental impact of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department with this initiative," said Sheriff Michael Ashe of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department. "What is most significant about this conservation project is that by working with Constellation Energy, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and our utility partners, we were able to use the savings created by the improvements to finance the upgrades."

Improvements were made facility-wide, from additional building insulation, to installation of low-flow faucets and showers, to fluorescent lighting and smart, centralized climate control and energy management systems. Altogether, more than 4,400 light fixtures, 1,400 water fixtures and 55 rooftop air handling systems were upgraded as part of the project.

"This was a tremendous collaboration between the Hampden County Sheriff's Department, DCAM, Constellation Energy, and the utility companies," said DCAM's Commissioner David B. Perini. "The project enabled Sheriff Ashe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent at the facility, and it is a great example of how agencies can work together with private vendors and utilities to meet the ambitious targets laid out in the Governor's Executive Order 484."

Under the Administration's Executive Order, issued last spring by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the commonwealth's agencies are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent and energy use by 20 percent by 2012.

"We left no stone unturned in finding ways to improve the efficiency of Hampden County's facilities," said Robert Belyea, business development manager for Constellation Energy's Projects & Services Group in Lowell, Mass. "We evaluated every aspect of the facility to determine where upgrades could result in conservation of energy and water, and then we deployed the latest in high efficiency technologies and smart systems to reduce usage. Even incremental improvements can really add up to major savings over time."

In many cases, simply updating equipment that was more than two decades old resulted in savings. The correctional facility's kitchen hood controls, for instance, were replaced with systems that operate only when they detect smoke or steam from cooking activities. This measure greatly reduced loss of climate controlled air vented to the exterior by fans running unnecessarily during general operation of the equipment.

WMECO provided $122,000, and Bay State Gas provided $100,000, in energy efficiency rebates for the project.

"WMECO is proud to partner with the Hampden County Sheriff's Department in helping its facility save both energy and operating costs. The 'soup-to-nuts' energy efficiency upgrades will save millions of dollars in energy costs in the near future, and WMECO is pleased to have had a role in the project's success. Hampden County Sheriff's Department's commitment to the environment and saving taxpayer dollars will produce impressive results," said Rodney Powell, president of WMECO.

"We are extremely pleased to be part of this comprehensive energy efficiency effort," said Bay State Gas's Derek Buchler, manager of Demand Side Management. "Engineering estimates indicate that the Hampden County Sheriff's Department can expect to save almost 138,000 therms in the first year and have a lifetime savings estimated at almost 1,275,000 therms. This is enough energy to heat over 1,000 homes for an entire year. This project also highlights the cooperation between Bay State Gas, its public sector customers, Western Massachusetts Electric Company, and the state sponsored energy efficiency programs. Collectively, we have the ability to take control of energy costs."

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