Bristol County to Save $650K Annually from Energy Upgrades

DARTMOUTH, Mass. — The New Bedford Ash Street Jail and Regional Lock-up and the Bristol County House of Correction and Jail in North Dartmouth recently underwent an energy-efficiency upgrade project. The energy-efficiency upgrades on the facilities are predicted to save more than $650,000 on an annual basis for Bristol County.

The two secure facilities include nine buildings that encompass more than 400,000 square feet. The Ash Street Jail was originally built in 1888 and is one of the oldest operational jails in the country, according to Jonathan Darling, public information officer at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.

The recent energy-efficiency upgrades were contracted under the Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) Accelerated Energy Program in Boston. DCAMM is responsible for many major public building construction projects, facilities management and other services for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

DCAMM initially approached Bristol County in September 2013 to find out if it was interested in implementing energy-efficiency measures in its correctional facilities, which Bristol County happily accepted, according to Chris Horta, assistant superintendent of support services at Bristol County and leader of the facilities team. Work on the upgrades began in January 2016 and was completed just over a year later in March 2017, according to Horta.

Horta served as in-house facilitator for the project in collaboration with an assigned DCAMM project manager. The Enterprise Equipment Company of Weymouth, Mass., was the mechanical contractor that implemented the majority of the upgrades and construction on both facilities, with ADI Energy of Smithfield, R.I., serving as the subcontractor on the project. In addition, JM Electrical Company Inc., located in Lynnfield, Mass., helped to complete the full energy upgrade of the Bristol County campuses.

The energy conservation implemented in the two facilities included the installation of LED lighting throughout and upgrades to a new 150-kilowatt cogeneration plant to heat domestic water and create electricity for the facility. The domestic hot water (DHW) systems were further supplemented by 28 new solar thermal collectors to provide a source for hot water during the warmer months of the year.

Both locations needed adequate control of heating, cooling and ventilation in the administrative, public and inmate spaces to improve functionality and reliability. ADI replaced the old pneumatic controls with a new site-wide multimillion-dollar building automation system, and integrated all the new pumps, economizers and 27 air handling units (AHUs) and ventilation units. New water conservation plumbing fixtures were installed, along with weatherization improvements such as door weather-stripping, roof insulation and piping insulation to improve the building envelope.

JM Electrical upgraded the hot and chilled water systems, AHUs and miscellaneous HVAC equipment throughout the jail. “Having a streamlined heating, ventilation and cooling system throughout these facilities is essential to maximizing energy use as well as tax dollars,” said Adam Palmer, project manager at JM Electrical. “Older, inefficient systems tend to run constantly every day, using energy at times that it is not needed. Upgrading the equipment in the facility enables more efficient-energy use, ultimately saving the prison money.”

Horta agreed that the financial savings to Bristol County and to taxpayers was a huge incentive to turning these energy-efficiency upgrades into a reality, despite the initial financial investment that was necessary to make it happen.

“These upgrades were absolutely worth it,” said Horta. “Simply by implementing reducers on inmate toilets, overall plumbing and water fountains, we’ve reduced the water flow in the facility to the tune of $246,000 in savings annually.”

Similarly, the switch to LED lighting will save $59,000 annually, with $56,000 in savings from switching to digital controls for boilers and heating and cooling in the facility, according to Horta.

To read the entire article, check out the March/April issue of Correctional News.

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