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Need to know if a particular green product lives up to its marketing claims, but hate to spend the money to give it a test run? Give it a year and you can read about it, courtesy of the US Government.
Kevin Myles
The GSA plans to put (our) money where its mouth is with a project called the “Green Proving Ground,” GSA Region 7 sustainability program manager Kevin Myles tells us. (He'll be a panelist at ourSustainability Summit tomorrow, but here's a teaser.) The GPG project will test about a dozen green products annually to see if they're truly innovative or duds. The government has broad shoulders and plans to take on some of the risk of evaluating these products; it's in the final planning stages with plans to roll out the program this month. Kevin says a “sources sought” announcement for potential vendor participants was recently published on Fed Biz Opps, the government's electronic business portal. Study results will be published in a government report and shared with other agencies and the commercial building sector.
solar panels
Kevin's agency oversees 1,300 GSA facilities across Texas and its four bordering states. He tells us Region 7 is the most energy efficient of all 11 GSA regions, noting his region’s buildings operate in the area of 54k BTUs per gross SF. (Take that, Regions 1-6!) How? “We're one of the few GSA regions that has advanced metering in about 78 of our buildings,” he explains. “Instead of getting a utility bill at the end of the month for the building, we get data in 15-minute intervals.” Kevin says the GSA has many innovative energy efforts in place like these solar panels, which were installed on 16 buildings (including these in Brownsville.) The solar projects were largely funded by the Stimulus Act, which also has funded energy efficient lighting systems. The federal building in downtown Fort Worth has both solar panels and motion sensor controlled lighting systems, for example.
wind turbine
Kevin also says a wind farm (above, GSA energy engineer Mark Trimarchi making sure that turbine one doesn't fly away) was contracted to offset the massive energy needs of some of GSA's facilities, including some along the Texas and New Mexico borders. Energy usage is high because of the x-ray machines (big enough to examine trailer-trucks) and the 24/7 operations. GSA has partnered with the DOE National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colo. Studies testing the effectiveness of wind power are underway in two locations. “Some of the things we do could translate to private industry because what you do to operate the buildings is going to save energy regardless of who you are,” he says. If you want to hear more from Kevin, there’s still time to sign up for the Dallas Sustainability Summit tomorrow. Last chance to register.