Sheriff’s Dept. Completes Efficiency, Upgrade Project

LUDLOW, Mass. — The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department completed major infrastructure improvements designed to increase energy and water efficiency, reduce operational costs and reduce the department’s environmental footprint.

The infrastructure improvements were undertaken as part of a two-year energy and water conservation project in conjunction with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management. Building improvements and systems upgrades included centralized energy-management and high-efficiency climate control systems, lighting upgrades, low-flow plumbing fixtures and additional insulation for the building envelope.

The county was able to avoid up-front capital investment through an energy performance contract with Constellation Energy Projects and Services Group, a Baltimore-based energy services company. The project is expected to generate more than $550,000 in annual energy and water cost savings.

“We’re successfully addressing rising energy costs, replacing equipment at the end of its useful life, and the environmental impact of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department with this initiative,” says Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr.

In April 2007, Gov. Deval Patrick issued an executive order that requires public agencies in the state to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2012.

“The project enabled Sheriff Ashe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent at the facility, and it is a great example of how agencies can work together with private vendors and utilities to meet the ambitious targets laid out in the governor’s Executive Order 484,” says DCAM Commissioner David B. Perini.

Under the contract, Constellation conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the various building systems at the Ludlow facility, which houses an average of 1,350 inmates per day.

The county’s main jail houses more than 1,300 inmates.
“We evaluated every aspect of the facility to determine where upgrades could result in the conservation of energy and water, and then we deployed the latest in high-efficiency technologies and smart systems to reduce usage,” says Robert Belyea, business development manager for Constellations regional office, in Lowell.

Much of the equipment and many of the systems were more than 20 years old. Replacing outdated and degraded equipment and system components was enough to increase efficiency levels, create operational savings and reduce environmental impact, officials say.

For example, the project team replaced the correctional facility’s kitchen hood controls with a sensor-activated system that operates only when it detects the smoke or steam produced while someone is cooking.

More than 55 rooftop air-handling systems, 4,400 light fixtures and 1,400 water fixtures were upgraded during the project.

“Even incremental improvements can really add up to major savings over time,” Belyea says.

The project also qualified for more than $222,000 in efficiency-incentive utility rebates from Western Massachusetts Electric Company and Bay State Gas.

“The soup-to-nuts energy-efficiency upgrades will save millions of dollars in energy costs in the near future,” says Rodney Powell, president of WMECO.

Estimates indicate the county can expect to save almost 138,000 therms of heat energy in the first year and almost 1,275,000 therms over the lifetime of the upgraded systems, which is enough energy to heat approximately 1,000 homes for one year.

“This project also highlights the cooperation between Bay State Gas, its public sector customers, Western Massachusetts Electric Company and the state sponsored energy-efficiency programs,” says Derek Buchler, of Bay State Gas.

“Collectively, we have the ability to take control of energy costs,” he says.

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