GSA is on track to complete a two-year, $39 million project to link the building systems at 39 of its high-energy-use buildings in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas on schedule in October, Federal Times reported last week. Siemens Government Services is installing sophisticated building automation systems, including solar photovoltaic, irrigation and lighting-control systems, as well as water-conserving plumbing and energy-efficient lighting fixtures, heating and cooling system upgrades and building envelope improvements such as thermal pane windows and insulation. When the project is finished, GSA will be able to monitor and control all of the facilities’ heating, cooling, lighting, water and security systems from its Greater Southwest Region headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
The ability to monitor trends in energy use, identify poor-performing buildings and quickly fix broken systems will enable GSA to better control its energy costs; this project alone is expected to save as much as $2.7 million per year. The project is part of a larger GSA effort to eventually link about 200 of its more energy-intensive buildings via a common monitoring platform (to read about another piece of this effort, see “IBM Wins GSA Smart Building Technology Contract”) to help reduce energy use, as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. It also is an example of an energy savings performance contract (ESPC), through which the vendor makes the upfront investment for building renovations and retrofits in exchange for payments from the government’s energy savings over time. Other government agencies—including the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Defense and Energy—also are using ESPCs to install building automation services and implement other energy-saving projects without bearing the burden of high upfront costs.