FBOP Completes Green Upgrades

WASHINGTON — The Federal Bureau of Prisons is continuing its ongoing sustainability drive with the completion of energy efficiency, renewable power and water conservation projects that could save more than $2 million annually at two federal prison sites on the Eastern Seaboard.
The multi-component projects at the Federal Correctional Complex in Petersburg, Va., and the Federal Correctional Institution in Fairton, N.J., combine energy and water conservation measures and incorporate renewable technologies to reduce utility usage, operating costs and carbon emissions that are projected to yield the FBOP more than $2.2 million in annual cost savings, officials say.
Baltimore-based Constellation Energy partnered with federal authorities to complete the projects at both sites under energy-savings performance contracts, which allowed the FBOP to avoid any up-front capital investment in infrastructure upgrades carried out at both facilities.
Under the performance contracts, Constellation finances the work and the FBOP uses the cost savings generated by the guaranteed energy and water usage reductions stipulated in the performance contracts to cover project repayments, which are stretched over the length of the multi-year contract term.
“Through the federal energy savings performance contract model, these improvements pay for themselves over the term of the contract,” says Michael Smith, senior vice president of green initiatives for Constellation NewEnergy, a division of Fortune 500 company Constellation Energy.
Federal tax credits covered approximately 30 percent of project costs, and the company is also eligible to receive the state tax credits.

Pictured, left to right, Constellation Energy’s Michael Smith, senior vice president of green initiatives; FCI Fairton Warden Paul Schultz; and Phil Seibel, of photovoltiac panel manufacturer UNICOR.

At FCI Fairton, the Constellation team installed a 400-kilowatt solar energy system on three-acre tract of land under the multi-year contract. The firm also carried out improvements to the existing boiler and chiller plants and upgraded electrical and lighting systems throughout the facility to increase efficiency.
Fairton inmates worked alongside the contractors to install the photovoltaic panels, which were manufactured by inmates at a Federal Prison Industries facility in Otisville, N.Y. Inmates also received hands-on practical training in the maintenance of the solar system, officials say.
The more than 1,370-bed medium-security main facility, which incorporates a 120-bed minimum-security satellite prison camp, is located 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 40 miles west of Atlantic City, N.J.
The firm also integrated smart energy controls, and incorporated a number of efficiency measures to support water conservation, including the replace of more than 700 toilets, as part of the comprehensive $10 million upgrade project.
The sustainability strategies employed at FCI Fairton could reduce the facility’s energy usage by more than 25 percent and water consumption by more than 40 percent to yield more than $800,000 in estimated annual cost savings, according to officials at Constellation. The new solar installation generates 400 kilowatts of renewable, clean electricity, which is equivalent to removing about 500 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
At FCC Petersburg, which consists of a low-security facility with more than 1,090 beds and a medium-security facility more than 1,970 beds, the project team installed a geothermal heat pump system, a rooftop solar system and a biomass heating system — a first for a FBOP facility, according to reports — to meet the facility’s energy demands.
Water efficiency strategies and conservation measures implemented at the Petersburg complex, which also incorporates an adjacent 340-bed minimum-security satellite prison camp, could reduce water consumption by an estimated 70 million gallons per year.
The renewable energy measures at the prison complex, located 25 miles southeast of Richmond, Va., could generate almost $1.4 million in annual cost savings while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 3,400 tons over the life of the systems, according to the company.
Officials also deployed a fleet of zero-emissions electric vehicles to support campus operations in an effort to further reduce the facility’s carbon footprint, and plan to meet 100 percent of the facility’s energy needs through on-site renewable sources with the installation of an additional 850-kilowatt solar system in the main parking lot.
“All of our federal customers are seeking new ways to reduce energy usage and costs and green their operations without incurring significant capital improvement costs,” says Constellation’s Mike Smith.
In addition to federal correctional facilities, Constellation Energy, which reported revenues of $15.6 billion in 2009, has worked on energy efficiency, renewable power generation and water conservation projects at the state and local level, such as the comprehensive infrastructure upgrade project for Hampden County Sheriff’s Department in Ludlow, Mass., (see Correctional News Nov./Dec. 2008).

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