New Technology Demonstration Program Success Story

April 1, 2002

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. —ancient proverb

Like many educational, outreach, and training programs, FEMP's New Technology Demonstration Program is not designed to give you the answer. It is designed to provide information so that you may make more informed decisions. This article, the third in a series on the New Technology Demonstration Program, tells the story of one Federal site and its path toward energy efficiency.

It is hard to tell where this story began and it certainly hasn't ended. We will begin in September 1995, when the New Technology Demonstration Program issued a Federal Technology Alert entitled "Ground-Source Heat Pumps Applied to Commercial Facilities."1 Ground-source heat pump systems, also referred to as geothermal heat pumps or geoexchange systems, have been around for several decades, but their use in Federal facilities had been limited. The scope of this Federal Technology Alert was to show how the HVAC requirements of larger2 facilities can be achieved using multiple ground-source heat pump systems.

You might think that issuing the publication might be the end of the project for the New Technology Demonstration Program. But when things go well, issuing the publication becomes the start of new activities. The back of each publication identifies general contacts for the program, as well as, technical contacts. The technical contact is usually the author of the document.

A few years after publication, the New Technology Demonstration Program received a call from the energy program manager at a U.S. Navy facility. This Federal energy program manager was seeking permission to use some of the information contained in the Federal Technology Alert for an article in the local base newspaper. On further inquiry, it was learned that the energy program manager was using the Federal Technology Alert to evaluate and assess the use of ground-source heat pumps systems at the site but was coming up against several obstacles. Normally, the New Technology Demonstration Program would have brought the request to the attention of the FEMP Design Assistance Program, one of FEMP's resources designed to assist Federal agencies with this type of request. However, in this case, the site was introduced to a government-funded technical assistance program at the International Ground-Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) at Oklahoma State University.3 An IGSHPA engineering team assisted the site engineering department and contractors in overcoming technical barriers leading to an improved design with lower capital cost requirements. The site went on to install over 410 tons of ground-source heat pumps in six new and two renovated facilities, over 265,000 square feet of building space. The New Technology Demonstration Program counts this type of follow-up as a success story, but the story does not end here.

Later, the site once again contacted the New Technology Demonstration Program. The site wanted to more fully deploy the technology, but like most Federal agencies they did not have the financial resources to implement all cost-effective energy-efficiency projects. Coincidentally, FEMP was in the early stages of developing a technology-specific Super Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) for ground-source heat pump systems and was looking for Federal sites interested in being included in the solicitation. The Navy site was introduced to FEMP's Alternative Financing Program, and a new partnership was formed. The technology-specific Super ESPC has since been awarded and the site is working to establish a delivery order under the DOE contract. The delivery order, when completed, is expected to include 15 more facilities covering almost 460,000 square feet, which would add another 950 tons of ground-source heat pumps. The capital cost of the delivery order is estimated to be $7�million to $8 million.

The site is Naval Air Station Oceana, located near Virginia Beach, Virginia, and the energy champion, Bob Harvey, was a guest on the TeleFEMP VII satellite broadcast, which featured the site and some of its new ground-source heat pump systems. The site was also a recipient of a 1998 Federal Energy and Water Management Award. While the New Technology Demonstration Program obviously cannot take full credit for these energy-saving projects, we know that the program played a significant role in its early stages.

The Federal Technology Alert on "Ground-Source Heat Pumps Applied to Commercial Facilities" is one of the program's more popular publications. It has been used as supplemental material in training workshops sponsored by the IGSHPA and the Association of Energy Engineers. It was at the request of the IGSHPA that the New Technology Demonstration Program elected to update the Federal Technology Alert in 2001.

Do you have a success story for the New Technology Demonstration Program? If your Federal site has implemented a successful energy-saving, water-conserving, solar, or other renewable-energy project as a result of a New Technology Demonstration Program publication, we would like to hear from you. Please send us your story by e-mail to steven.parker@pnl.gov and theodore.collins@ee.doe.gov.

For more information, please contact Steven Parker of PNNL at steven.parker@pnl.gov or Ted Collins of FEMP at theodore.collins@ee.doe.gov. See the geothermal heat pump (GHP) pages on FEMP's Web site for more information at www.eere.energy.gov/femp/financing/espc/geothermal_heat_pumps.html. For information about the DOE Technology-Specific GHP Super ESPC, please contact Doug Culbreth of DOE's Atlanta Regional Office at 919-782-5238 or carson.culbreth@ee.doe.gov.

1This Federal Technology Alert was updated in March 2001 and retitled, "Ground-Source Heat Pumps Applied to Federal Facilities—Second Edition".
2The term "larger is intended to imply any building larger than single-family housing units, such as offices, schools, dormitories, and other facilities.
3While this specific technical assistance program is no longer available, similar programs may still be available through other sources. Check the FEMP Web site at www.eere.energy.gov/femp/.