State Facilities Compete to Save Energy and Money
The Department of Corrections and the Department of Health and Social Services led the way to victory during the Great Alaska Energy Challenge. State employees took up the challenge to reduce energy consumption and save state resources. Despite the colder winter, the 36 facilities saved enough energy over six months to power 230 homes for a year, or the equivalent of 986 barrels of oil.
Participants statewide have been fastidiously turning off lights, optimizing equipment schedules, and calculating savings through energy upgrades. Governor Bill Walker challenged state operated buildings to participate in the Great Alaska Energy Challenge, a friendly competition to see who can save the most energy and state money on electricity and heating bills from October 2016 – March 2017, when our energy bills are at their highest. Throughout the contest period, participants were encouraged to identify leaders in the building to take charge of the campaign. Data is compared to the prior year and adjusted for square footage and heating-degree days.
Winners were picked on the basis of four different categories: those who had the lowest heat and electricity use overall and those who showed the biggest change in heat and electricity use. Winners of the four categories:
- Greatest Reduction – Electricity: Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center (Bethel)
- Lowest Use – Electricity: Alaska Public Health Labs (Anchorage)
- Greatest Reduction – Heat: Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center (Bethel)
- Lowest Use – Heat: Northern Region Administrative Headquarters, Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities (Fairbanks)
“As stewards of the State of Alaska resources it is our responsibility to find more efficient and cost effective ways to operate our facilities. The benefits of deferred maintenance funding can pay off twice if energy efficiency is incorporated into facility upgrades,” said Clifton Reagle, Department of Corrections Facility Manager.
The Department of Corrections has prioritized energy saving measures such as lighting upgrades, mechanical and controls upgrades, and even adding solar thermal on the Goose Creek Correctional facility. The projects were commercially financed and will be repaid by energy and operational savings resulting from the improvements.
“As we are seeing through this challenge, efficiency projects can be one of the ways that allow us to help towards financial savings for the State of Alaska,” said Keith Stephens, Facilities Manager for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (HSS).
According to the “6th Energy Annual Legislative Report,” through the use of energy savings performance contracts, the state has accomplished energy savings performance projects in 69 facilities and has achieved cumulative annual cost avoidance greater than $3.2 million! The Great Alaska Energy Challenge hopes to inspire Alaskans across the state to take action to reduce energy consumption. Energy efficiency is one of the best tools to combat the high cost of energy in Alaska – because the cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use.
The challenge is a partnership of Governor’s Office and REAP, with support from the Alaska Energy Authority and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. For more information, please see www.akenergychallenge.org