GALVESTON, Texas (Aug. 5, 2014) – While all new permanent facilities constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District require Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED) Silver certification standards to be incorporated into design plans, existing buildings do not – which often creates challenges in meeting sustainability and energy efficient goals for those districts that maintain aging infrastructure such as the Galveston District’s Jadwin Building.
“Achieving energy efficiency is an integral step toward achieving sustainability in facilities as it not only helps control rising energy costs but it reduces environmental footprints,” said Joe King, chief of the Engineering Branch. “The Jadwin Building, constructed in 1992, was built using materials that weren’t energy efficient. What we’re doing now is identifying the most effective solutions and measures we can take to help reduce energy costs and we’ve made a lot of progress over the last 24 months.”
Analyzing the building’s existing energy usage during a 2012 energy audit, King implemented 12 out of 16 energy-savings recommendations including replacing boilers and insulation as well as negotiating utility rates.
“We’re operating in an environment of limited resources,” said King. “Sustainability is about using the resources we have at our disposal in the most efficient manner possible while balancing the organization’s needs for the future. There were four other identified solutions that we chose not to implement due to the life cycle/cost payback ratio or because they were not compatible with our systems.”
While King acknowledges that there is still work to be done, he says these combined investments in energy-saving measures will save approximately $113,000 taxpayer dollars annually.
“Using a baseline of energy consumption averaged during 2008-2011, we saw an energy intensity reduction of 24.6 percent in 2013 and anticipate meeting the 30 percent reduction metric this year,” said King. “We’ll continue to seek cost-effective measures to reduce our energy consumption, maximize our sustainability efforts and will remain committed to being good environmental stewards.”
Whether it be renovating older facilities to bring them up to current standards or building new, the district continues to implement innovative sustainable building practices to deliver quality projects for our nation and Armed Forces.
The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The district is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 250 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates.
Learn more about the USACE sustainability/energy initiatives at http://www.usace.army.mil/Portals/2/docs/Sustainability/Scorecard/OMB_Scorecard_2014_USACE.pdf. For news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.