Super ESPC Provides Combined Heat and Power, PV, and Energy Savings to FDA Office/Lab Complex

August 31, 2005

With the Congressional reauthorization of energy savings performance contracting (ESPC), one of the prime tools for saving energy in the federal government, the second phase of an award winning project at the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) White Oak campus resumed in May 2005. A collaborative process, this project uses the DOE FEMP's Super ESPC for a facility built by the General Services Administration (GSA) and used by the FDA. Using the avoided costs already generated by the Super ESPC, GSA is now able to install state-of-the-art combined heat and power (CHP) and energy efficient components in the build-out of FDA's $900 million office and laboratory complex in White Oak, Maryland.

FDA's Federal Research Center at White Oak is a three million square-foot facility comprising 14 interconnected buildings. Sempra Energy Services provides the energy-related infrastructure, and is constructing a Central Utilities Plant (CUP) that will provide heating, cooling, and electricity for the campus. Photovoltaic (PV)-generated electricity will also satisfy some of the FDA's needs.

The centerpiece of this project is the dual fuel (natural gas and diesel) co-generation plant. This plant will provide all of the electricity needs of the campus while using waste heat, recovered from engine cooling water and oil and from the exhaust gas stack, to provide hot water for heating and to power absorption water chillers for cooling the laboratories and office buildings. Dollar savings are derived by comparing the cost of buying electricity from the grid versus on-site generation and the avoided cost of using waste heat from generators that would otherwise be produced using additional fuel. The cogeneration plant distributes 13,800 volt, three-phase electricity, 39°F chilled water, and 200°F heating hot water.

The CHP project is a good example of the added reliability and security that can be provided by on-site generation. Security is a common theme in today's environment, but it is especially important to the ongoing laboratory studies being conducted by the FDA. Instead of relying on emergency generators, this site uses the grid as its back-up in the unlikely event that the cogeneration plant were to fail or if there were an interruption of both natural gas and diesel used in these dual-fuel generators.

This project also derives considerable savings from upgraded lighting, glazing, air handling units, variable frequency drives, controls (e.g., night setbacks), economizers, and operations and maintenance savings. Phase one of this project included savings-supported capital investment of about $28 million, while phase two supports about $18 million of capital investment. Over the life of this project, the government stands to save more than $119 million.

For more information, please contact Tom Hattery, FEMP, 215-370-1362.