Behavior change is now part of several state energy efficiency strategies. This short video explains Hawaii's efforts.
Behavior change focuses on understanding individual and organizational behavior and decision making – then using that knowledge to make simple lifestyle changes that offer more efficient use of energy.
Behavior change works. Consider how our generation has transformed our waste stream with recycling or improved highway safety with seatbelts. Improving energy efficiency is good for people, good for the environment and good for Washington state's operating budget.
Although Washington state has laws and executive orders that require energy efficiency actions, behavior change focuses on the voluntary choices that individuals can make and offers inspiration and recognition that leads to long-term change. Given that energy efficiency benefits your agency budgets, the national economy, the environment and the people, it is the right thing to do. As former U.S. Representative Brian Baird stated in USAToday in 2010, "the choice for me is, make relatively small and not particularly sacrificial behavior changes or pass crippling financial debt and environmental damage on to my children. That should not be a difficult choice."
Directors, Deputy Directors, and Division Managers have a key role in reducing energy costs in state agency buildings. Your leadership sets an example for all employees. Following are a few ideas:
Whether your agency identifies an energy champion, initiates a monthly utility bill analysis, has a building energy audit, or modifies equipment maintenance schedules, each action indicates your commitment to energy efficiency. When you share the results of each action with your employees, you reaffirm that commitment and begin to change the culture within the organization.
These small changes will have a big impact on your employee morale and operating budget.
Organizations and programs are available to help your agency reduce energy use. Visit the Resources page to learn about the support available.
When buildings use less energy, the state’s operating budget is directly reduced. Buildings that are energy efficient can offer more comfortable spaces for employees, and increase productivity. Saving energy is good for everyone. Governor Gregoire thinks so too. She delivered the video message to kick off the March to Savings campaign.
Saving energy is simply good business, and many Washington state policies address energy efficiency. The Department of Ecology Climate Change Policy outlines the framework. The following laws and executive orders are relevant to energy efficiency actions:
Agencies have the opportunity to design and implement a building energy management policy that supports their mission; reduces costs; improves operations; increases occupant comfort and productivity; and meets state policy requirements. An energy management policy that is part of the agency’s strategic plan ensures administrative support.
In 2008, Michigan began analyzing efficiency in each owned or leased building at least once every five years, and then takes action to improve building efficiency. They have reduced energy use in state facilities by 22% in four years.
Effective facility or agency energy policies would address procurement, building operator and building occupant actions. A key factor in a successful policy is to identify a champion or a team to be responsible for providing education, tracking progress, and reporting successes. That team requires administrative support and recognition. Here are sample energy policies:
Energy Action Plan for County Facilities, Charles County, MD. 2010
Energy Policy, Sacramento State University, CA. Implemented in 2009
Energy, Sustainability and Efficiency Initiatives, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL
Policies may include:
The March to Savings event is a short-term behavior change program. Educating employees and inspiring behavior change is the first step.
Next steps include implementing building management policies and purchasing policies, identifying or hiring an energy champion, training building operators and ultimately implementing building efficiency projects. You have a team of experts close at hand. The following program and financial resources are available to support your agency. View this video for additional information.
Most utility companies offer efficiency incentive programs, technical assistance, and other resources to state government customers. We offer one example here, but you should explore options with your utility.
Puget Sound Energy (PSE) offers a wide range of programs including very significant rebates for lighting, controls, commercial kitchen equipment and more. They will work with your agency to support a Resource Conservation Manager position. If your agency does not meet the minimum requirements, there are part-time, shared or contractor alternatives. PSE also recently started a program called Re-Energize Your Data Center because most data centers are expanding at almost 10 percent per year.
DES offers engineering and management assistance with building improvement and efficiency projects. They also realize the challenges of financing energy efficiency improvements and offer a portfolio of Energy Saving Programs including Performance Contracting, Energy Life Cycle Cost Analysis, ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, and Building Commissioning. DES has many success stories including Retrocommissioning at Bellingham Technical College. Contact DES at GAEnergyTeam@ga.wa.gov or (360) 902-7272.
The WSU Energy Program provides technical and program support to public agencies. The Plant Operations Support Consortium is a collaborative of over 125 public agencies who share resources and insights about facilities management. Members have reported many benefits, including significantly reduced energy costs. The annual Energy/Facilities Connections Conference (May 9-11, 2012 in Leavenworth, WA) is a popular and engaging event for anyone involved in facility operations.
To help state agencies, colleges and universities finance equipment acquisition or building renovation projects, the State Agency Lease/Purchase program offers low, tax-exempt interest rate financing. Energy conservation projects must first be approved by the DES Energy Program.
Pinpointing precise savings can be difficult, such as when several facilities are linked to the same utility meter (as is the case on the Capitol Campus). And energy use has to be measured for a few years before we know how much money is saved with energy-efficiency changes. But change is in the air and momentum is building. Tell us what your agency is doing to save energy and we will add your example to the success stories posted here.
If your agency needs help to turn energy-saving efforts into a success story, contact the WSU Energy Program. Our engineers, building science experts, and energy efficiency consultants are available to answer your questions about energy efficiency during – and after – the March to Savings event. Contact 360-956-2059 or info@MarchToSavings.org.
Click on the titles below to read some success stories from state agencies.
Two Northwest Region parks added final touches to energy lighting efficiency upgrades in January. Park mangers Patty Andersen at South Whidbey and Jack Hartt at Deception Pass worked with Partnership and Planning to receive rebates from Puget Sound Energy's (PSE) Small Business Lighting Rebate program. While rebates received helped to offset equipment investments, both parks have significantly reduced their annual costs for electric power load for lighting.
A 2006 lighting retrofit at South Whidbey upgraded most of the parks lamps creating a 42 percent power reduction, which has saved about $400 annually since 2006. In late 2011, the park added occupancy sensors, which will lower that annual lighting cost another $325. The rebate of $860 will help recover the project costs before the end of the year. The park also improved lighting to the flagpole and park entrance sign, using high-efficiency lamps with reflectors that create more light while using a good deal less electricity (and money).
At Deception Pass Cornet Bay, park and region staff teamed up to install new lighting systems for the dining hall kitchen and the recreation hall. The team upgraded the lighting while completing a large deferred maintenance project on the recreation hall (replacing an old roof and replacing an old concrete porch with a beautiful new wood porch). The new lighting system will highlight a newly remodeled interior for the recreation hall.
The Cornet Bay lighting project combined with a planned second round of lighting retrofits in the park during 2012 (comfort stations, plus maintenance and administrative buildings). These two major lighting retrofits at Deception Pass are both part of a PSE lighting efficiency agreement signed in June 2011. Combined, these two lighting projects at Deception Pass will help bring in more than $7,000 in rebates to State Parks and lower the annual costs for lighting this park by more than $2,500 each year. Bottom line: Lighting upgrade investments keep on saving annually.
DES's Resource Conservation Manager reduced utility costs by $30,000 per year by adjusting mechanical systems in the Department of Natural Resources building. These no-cost and low-cost adjustments have also led to improved comfort for the building occupants and better indoor air quality. Similar building tune-ups are taking place in buildings across the Capitol Campus.
In addition, by scrutinizing utility bills, the Resource Conservation Manager found a metering error. When that error was brought to the attention of the utility, $400,000 was returned to the State of Washington.
During 2009 alone, simple no-cost and low-cost energy conservation changes at DSHS saved $265,700. Most of this success is due to the efforts of employees who wanted to make a difference; the rest is attributable to strategic – but modest – investments in energy efficiency improvements, such as making sure buildings were heated and cooled only during work hours, adjusting thermostats, maintaining heating and air conditioning equipment, and encouraging staff to switch lights and appliances off when not in use.
The former officers' quarters at Fort Worden State Park are rented out as vacation houses. Until 2011, the furnaces were turned on at midnight to make sure the rental houses were warm by check-in time. Last year, building operators measured the temperatures in those houses and found that it took only 8 hours – not 15 hours – to warm them up. By starting the furnaces at 6 a.m. instead of midnight, staff found that they could effectively warm the houses by check-in time, dramatically reducing energy use without compromising the comfort of the occupants. It is still too early to pinpoint the exact amount of money saved, but heating costs are projected to be reduced by close to 50 percent.
A recent lighting retrofit at the Old Capitol Building (OSPI Headquarters) resulted in annual savings of 52,250 kWh and an average demand reduction of 12 kW, saving $4,000.00. In-house staff implemented this project at a cost of $32,000, which provides a simple payback of eight years. This lighting project also received $12,000 in utility incentives!
The outcome of a recent computer project is not only saving DNR money through reduced power consumption, it's brought in some welcomed cash — a check for $107,359 from Puget Sound Energy, to be exact.
The DNR Windows Server Virtualization Project, which was planned and completed a team of DNR staff, substantially reduces the number of computer servers needed in the Natural Resources Building Data Center. Using 'virtualization technology,' approximately 110 servers are being consolidated into 6 servers that will provide the same or better levels of service and reliability. Servers take up physical space, use electricity, require cooling, and demand regular maintenance. By eliminating more than 100 servers, the virtualization project will allow DNR to spend thousands of dollars less for server-related electricity, staff time, space and hardware costs.
Best of all, a grant from Puget Sound Energy recoups more than 60 percent of the one-time-only cost of $170,000 needed to implement the new server technology. The Puget Sound Energy (PSE) Commercial Custom Grants Program offers up to 70% of retrofit costs to successful applicants.
The project qualified for the grant by saving 281,995 kilowatt-hours annually — enough energy to run 300 average-sized U.S. households for a year, the EPA estimates. That works out to a reduction of 4.63 million pounds of CO2 annually.
The University Actions page provides an overview of the variety of measures that WSU has implemented to help reduce the impact of rising energy costs on students, staff and faculty.