Oregon Department of Corrections Locks Up Energy Costs with $1.85 Million Energy Efficiency Project

The Oregon Department of Corrections, Santiam Correctional Institution in Salem, Ore., is implementing $1.85 million in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort and efficiency in four buildings. Schneider Electric will complete the work as a performance contract.

The Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC), Santiam Correctional Institution (SCI) in Salem, Ore., is implementing $1.85 million in facility enhancements designed to improve operations, comfort and efficiency in four buildings with approximately 96,000 square feet. Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, will complete the work as a performance contract with the DOC. Schneider Electric guarantees that SCI will reduce its utility and labor costs by $335,000 annually when the project is completed in December 2009.

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."

Performance contracting offers 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 degrees. 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., will install 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."

When the project is completed, not only will the SCI facility be more comfortable, but it will also be more efficient. Schneider Electric estimates that as a result of the reduction in energy use, 314 tons of carbon will not released. This is equivalent to planting 12,575 trees, taking 68 cars off the roads for one year, or making 41 houses carbon neutral.

About Schneider Electric
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in energy and infrastructure, industrial processes, building automation, security, and data centers/networks, as well as a broad presence in residential applications. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, and efficient, the company's 114,000 employees achieved sales of more than 18.3 billion euros in 2008, through an active commitment to help individuals and organizations "Make the most of their energy." www.schneider-electric.com.

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