ACHRNEWS

Correctional Facility Locks Up Energy Costs With Energy Efficiency Project

February 8, 2010

DALLAS - The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) in Salem, Ore., has implemented $1.85 million in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort, and efficiency in four buildings with approximately 96,000 square feet. Schneider Electric is completing the work as a performance contract, guaranteeing that SCI will reduce its utility and labor costs by $335,000 annually.

SCI is a 400-bed minimum-security facility that operates a community reintegration program that assigns inmates to supervised work crews in the community and provides other services for inmates prior to their release from prison. Due to code requirements to continuously staff the facility’s high-pressure boilers, SCI’s operational costs to monitor the boilers exceeded all of the institution’s utility costs. The facility was also energy inefficient and lacked an effective building automation system.

“SCI initially received funding to replace the steam boilers to reduce operational costs. Schneider Electric found a way to keep the boilers and significantly reduce operational costs without sacrificing functionality of the system,” said Jim Poore, senior project manager, ODOC Facilities Services. “Schneider Electric’s solution was significantly less expensive than a wholesale replacement of the boiler system as originally planned. This allows the remaining dollars to fund numerous other improvements needed to reduce energy use, improve comfort, and provide needed upgrades to the building to reduce the deferred maintenance that will have to be addressed in the future.”

Schneider Electric noted that performance contracts offer many long-term benefits for correctional facilities, such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management, and environmental protection. Typically, new, more efficient equipment and upgraded facility automation systems maximize energy efficiency and generate utility savings. Schneider Electric guarantees the amount of savings performance contracting projects will achieve and agrees to pay the difference if that amount is not realized.

To meet the challenge of reducing costs and improving efficiency, Schneider Electric applied a variety of energy conservation measures. First, engineers re-evaluated the plan to remove the two functional steam boilers that were in excellent condition. They determined that by reducing the pressure on the boilers from 45 to 14 psi, the facility could still get the heating it needed and eliminate the need for continual staffing. Next, Schneider Electric examined the building management system, which had been abandoned because of age and missing hardware, leaving the staff to manually adjust valves and turn fans on and off. With no way to utilize the mechanical system to bring in cool air at night and noninsulated metal frame windows, the building quickly warmed up in the summer, with temperatures often rising to 110°F. Through this project, Schneider Electric will significantly reduce the peak temperatures in the summer by upgrading to a Web-based direct digital control (DDC) control system, reducing lighting loads with lighting controls and retrofitting fixtures, installing modern thermal windows, and adding insulation and circulation in the attic. The staff will have full control and visibility of current conditions through the new control system. Schneider Electric partner Control Contractors Inc. of Portland, Ore., is installing a TAC I/A Series control system in the facility.

“Properly coordinating scheduling and necessary security are the biggest challenges to working in correctional facilities,” said Shon Anderson, vice president of Energy Solutions sales, Schneider Electric. “The nature of the facility and the fact that it must be operational and occupied 24/7 require that we must be careful to ensure that the work does not compromise security and has minimal disruption to the occupants.”

For more information, visit www.schneider-electric.com.

Publication date: 02/08/2010