US Coast Guard Academy Utility System Upgrade To Save $2 Million Annually

utility upgrade US Coast Guard Academy CHP
The US Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Credit: Tidewater Muse, Flickr Creative Commons.

The US Coast Guard Academy broke ground Monday on a new project with Eversource and Ameresco to replace an aging utility system on its 85-year-old campus in New London, Connecticut, the Associated Press reported. Starting in 2020, the upgrades are expected to save the academy more than $2 million annually.

Heavy fuel oil-burning boilers dating back 50 years are set to be replaced with a high-efficiency natural gas plant and a 1-MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant. According to the academy, the $72.6 million utility energy service contract for the project is the largest ever signed by the US Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security. Entirely self-funded, the project will accomplish $39 million in capital improvements, the academy says.

Energy provider Eversource Energy and the renewable energy company Ameresco are project partners. Besides the natural gas plant and CHP plant improvements, the project calls for an expansion of the central chiller plant and a number of other energy conservation measures including:

  • Boiler system improvements
  • Kitchen ventilation controls
  • Laboratory hood replacement and exhaust modifications
  • HVAC improvements
  • Campus-wide direct digital controls system improvements
  • Two rooftop solar arrays
  • Steam and hot water system improvements
  • Water conservation
  • Lighting improvements

“These measures will reduce total energy consumption at the academy by 24,488 MBTU per year, or a reduction of 16% — and reduce water consumption by 7%. Total energy costs will be reduced by 80%,” the US Coast Guard Academy’s project fact sheet says. “The project also includes maintenance, repair, and replacement for major equipment including the boiler, the CHP, and the chiller plant to ensure energy savings are achieved.”

The utility energy service contract should help improve energy resilience on campus by increasing on-site generation. CHP plus two new rooftop solar arrays — a 284-kW installation at Rolland Hall and a 170-kW installation at Waesche Hall — will provide 82% of the institution’s required electricity, the academy says.

“By extending a continuous supply of natural gas onto the academy campus, we are reducing manpower historically required to order fuel trucks, and are diversifying the site’s energy inputs,” Sam Alvord, chief of the Coast Guard Office of Energy Management, says in the fact sheet. “The next phase of course will be to ensure load sequencing, so the academy’s utility system can automatically prioritize and shift loads with the various sources of power generation.”

Vendors mentioned above:

  • Ameresco
  • Eversource Energy
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