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Virginia military department refuels energy-efficiency offensive

Virginia military department refuels energy-efficiency offensive

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Over the next 12 months, Schneider Electric will complete energy retrofits at nine facilities. The projected annuals savings in energy consumption will be 39 percent annually.

The Virginia Department of Military Affairs is extending a five-year contract with Schneider Electric into a $11.2 million energy efficiency project. The agreement, which is structured as an energy savings performance contract, will save about 39 percent of the departments energy consumption annually, or approximately 1.5 million kilowatt-hours.

The agency based in Sandston, Va., includes the Virginia Army National Guard, the Virginia Air National Guard, and the Virginia Defense Force. Over the next 12 months, Schneider Electric will complete energy retrofits at nine different facilities. The upgrades are worth an estimated $24 million, which will be paid for through a combination of the project savings and federal and state funds. Those funds are being allocated through federal and state maintenance reserves, according a press release released by Schneider Electric.

The technologies being added to the facilities include smart building automation that will allow the agency to monitor and manage energy use in real time. The Virginia military departments will also install lighting retrofits, water conservation technologies, PC power management technologies, new electric meters and a geothermal system.

"An energy savings performance contract enables public institutions to obtain critical insight into energy use and turn energy into an asset," said James Potach, senior vice president of Schneider Electric Energy Solutions. "We're helping the agency achieve its energy and operational objectives by implementing an energy-efficiency project that will make a significant contribution toward reducing the carbon footprint and utility spend across multiple facilities."

We can expect to hear about many more contracts such as this Virginia example, as well as an initiative announced last week by the army's Fort Bliss in Texas. These contracts are fallout from President Barack Obama's directive late last year, the Better Buildings Challenge, encouraging federal agencies to strive for $2 billion in energy-efficiency improvements over the next two years.

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Heather Clancy

Section Editor

Heather Clancy has written for United Press International, ZDNet, Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She holds a degree from McGill University. She is based in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure