LANL takes steps toward energy efficiency

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By John Severance

The Los Alamos National Laboratory is hoping a new energy savings contract project will yield about $28 million over the next 20 years.
The program, announced by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) this week, would save the lab $1.2 million per year in electrical, heating, ventilating and air conditioning costs. That’s a 3 percent savings on LANL’s annual energy bill.
According to NNSA Spokesman Damien LaVera, the Energy Savings Performance Contract allows the installation of energy savings and efficient equipment in federal buildings at no up-front cost to the government.
 “The contractor identifies energy conservation opportunities and installs the equipment at its expense and is repaid for his investment (plus interest) out of the savings from reduced energy bills. These can be contracts up to 25 years,” LaVera said.
“Typically, the cost savings over that 25 years are roughly the same as what is paid out to the contractor, but the savings continue after the contract expires. In this case, over the 20 years of the contract, we’ll reduce our costs by $28 million and pay NORESCO roughly the same about. We will continue to save at least $1.2 million per year for every following that.”  
Don Cook, the deputy administrator for defense programs, said, “the energy savings work being done at Los Alamos National Laboratory is another example of our commitment to being responsible stewards of tax dollars.
 “I applaud the men and women at LANL for their continued work in making the laboratory a more energy efficient environment as NNSA moves from a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise.”
The work at LANL started last week in an effort to begin the cost savings. The entire construction effort is expected to last about 12 months.
The first phase project will replace light fixtures in 28 buildings including 2,300 light fixtures and 1,900 retro fit light boxes. The second phase of the project will focus on replacing the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in nine buildings. The HVAC replacement systems will automatically turn on and off the heat and air conditioning for weekends, nights and holidays from a central control computer.