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U.S. Coast Guard Sees Reduced Energy Costs and Usage After NREL’s Energy Assessment Training

April 25, 2013

As a federal agency, the U.S. Coast Guard is required to comply with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires the completion of energy assessments at 25% of an agency’s buildings every four years. To obtain the knowledge and resources required to meet this obligation, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam energy managers and staff attended two week-long NREL-led energy assessment trainings. 

Through traditional workshop tactics and hands-on field activities, the U.S. Coast Guard participants were taught to:

• Complete data collection forms
• Use on-site assessment and NREL-developed analytical tools
• Generate a comprehensive energy assessment report.

While other organizations offer similar training, NREL’s deployment team designed the training to be a unique one in the industry.

“With our training, we actually take people into the field, show them how to use the analysis tools, run calculations, and collect data,” said NREL Energy Engineer Jesse Dean. The NREL team also provides follow-on support, reviewing client results and assisting with project implementation, if requested.

As a result of the training, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam energy managers were able to use that knowledge and access to resources to conduct their own energy assessments of their facilities, and ultimately, work toward meeting their energy goals.

Energy-Saving Retrofits

When the Sector Guam energy managers looked at their buildings, they identified over 50 energy-saving retrofit projects, which, if completed, totaled nearly $25,000 in savings each year. As part of their analysis, the energy managers considered such factors as material costs, installation costs, cost savings per year, and total life cycle costs.

With that information, the U.S. Coast Guard was able to implement those identified energy-saving strategies in Guam during a large-scale retrofit in October 2011. The retrofit focused on increasing energy performance through lighting, occupancy sensors, and hot water projects.

Small Investment, Big Results

What seems like a minimal investment—an upfront cost of $27,000 for materials and travel plus the labor of three employees for two weeks—resulted in a noticeable decrease in energy use the very first month the retrofits were completed.

From fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012, Sector Guam reported an energy use reduction of 24% and a 42% decrease in energy costs, according to U.S. Coast Guard Captain John Hickey. Both figures he directly credits to the NREL training and the consequential energy-saving strategies Guam implemented.

“Our energy savings can be attributed to the energy assessment training in 2008, when we first started working with NREL on this issue,” said Hickey.

For more information about upcoming energy assessment trainings or how to access available related resources, contact Jesse Dean

—Devin Egan