First Regional Super ESPC a Success on Kodiak Island, Alaska
By taking a leadership role in a pilot program to streamline Federal financing and procurement for energy-saving projects, the Coast Guard is saving more than $220,000 a year in energy costs at their facility at Kodiak Island, Alaska.
The project was the first under the Regional Super Energy Saving Performance Contract (ESPC) program run by the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). Coast Guard staff completed $1.1 million of work, without needing Congressional appropriations, by contracting with ERI Services, Inc., one of FEMP's approved energy-services contractors in the western region.
Working together, ERI and the Coast Guard determined areas of potential energy savings and designed a retrofit to upgrade inefficient equipment and infrastructure. Because of the success of the first delivery order, a second delivery order has been signed and additional work is being considered. Tasks under way or being considered include
- Upgrading boiler controls, feedwater motors, pumps, and the fueling system at the steam plant
- Upgrading lighting and controls
- Upgrading heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and controls
- Replacing residential boilers and electric water heaters
- Replacing double doors in housing units
- Repairing and replacing existing steam distribution systems and adding additional steam piping
- Replacing old, maintenance-intensive steam traps with new efficient traps.
ERI paid for the retrofit and will be repaid over the life of the project with yearly energy savings. At the end of ERI's contract, energy cost savings will be retained by the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard military base on Kodiak Island, Alaska, is the largest Coast Guard base in the world. The base consists of more than 400 buildings, including three large aircraft hangars, a communication command center, a medical clinic, several ships, and almost 600 units of housing. The island is in an isolated area 250 miles south of Anchorage. The electricity to run the station is expensive—utility costs average 187% higher than the rest of the nation. In 1995, total energy costs at the base were $6.4 million.
Coast Guard Staff Engineer John Governale said that being the first agency to participate in the FEMP Super ESPC program required foresight and tenacity, but was worth the effort. "No congressional funding is necessary," he said. "We can do the work in 2-3 years without having to hunt down capital and with absolutely minimal risk to the government."
During the assessment of the base, ERI and the project team determined that steam plant modifications, computer controls for the HVAC system, and a lighting retrofit would reduce energy costs and increase efficiency.
The first delivery order added boiler controls for fuel systems, new computer controls, an oxygen trim, and a system to preheat the makeup water before it reaches the boiler. These changes increased steam plant efficiency from 83% to 89%. In addition, computer controls for the HVAC system in the medical clinic and a lighting retrofit in nine of the industrial buildings have been completed. Total savings from the first delivery order, which was signed in June 1998 and completed in October 1998, are $222,400 a year.
Signed in June 1999, the second delivery order allows for upgrades in lighting and storm doors throughout the base. According to Brown, these two projects will save an additional estimated $500,000 a year.
Benefits of Using the Super ESPC Program
Using the FEMP Super ESPC, the Coast Guard was able to quickly contract with an experienced contractor with specific energy-savings expertise. According to Senior Project Developer Scott Silver of ERI, it is sometimes hard to find qualified contractors to do the work in a remote area such as Kodiak Island. "Contractors just don't go there—who does marketing calls in remote Alaska?" he said. "It would have been difficult for Kodiak to get a qualified ESCO who could identify, design, build, and verify energy conservation improvements."
In addition, Coast Guard leadership at Kodiak Island helped pave the way for additional Super ESPC projects at other agencies.
"For these projects to be successful, the agency needs to be committed at the site and national level and the Coast Guard was," said Brad Gustafson, FEMP's utility services program manager. "Coast Guard headquarters and regional and site support were a good group; they saw it as a means to get things done and made it happen."
The team used FEMP to provide technical and advisory assistance during the ESPC process from resources within the Department of Energy, its laboratories, and private-sector contractors.
Cost Savings per Year
Delivery Orders 1&2
|Simple Payback (years)|
|Boiler Controls||148,000 gal JPS||17,702,145,000||129,300||3.3|
|Feedwater motor/pumps||100,740 kWh||283,686,330||12,470||2.4|
|Lighting upgrades||2,316,600 kWh||7,812,000,000||296,212||5.2|
|Door replacement||36,420 gal DF-2||5,044,000,000||43,536||9.8|
|Fuel tank/pipeline modifications||159,473 gal JP-5||19,909,000,000||273,141||5.6|
3,900 gal JP-5
*O&M cost savings/year included
As the first agency using the Super ESPC process, Mike Brown, chief of engineering design at the Kodiak facility, said that the challenge was keeping the size of delivery orders manageable and being steadfast while all members of the team learned about the new process. "If you take too big a bite on these projects, people get nervous," he said. "ESPC allows you to commit money ahead of time, unlike the usual government process."