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NASA Langley, Home to Award-winning Energy Action
By: Denise Lineberry

Submissions outlining trash-powered research and a new headquarters building at NASA’s Langley Research Center resulted in two teams receiving 2012 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards.

Each year the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in conjunction with the Federal Interagency Energy Policy Committee ("656" Committee), sponsors the Federal Energy and Water Management Awards (FEWM). These awards honor individuals and organizations making significant contributions to the efficient use of energy and water resources within the Federal Government.

These awards are a first for NASA Langley. In the past 11 years, only four NASA teams have been chosen as winners by the Federal Energy Management Program. But this year, Langley's teams achieved the only winning NASA submissions.

Refuse-Fired Steam Generating Facility.

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In the Refuse-Fired Steam Generating Facility, garbage from Peninsula cities, NASA Langley, Langley Air Force Base and Northrop Grumman Shipyard is burned. The 2,200-2,300 degree flame it generates fires a generator that provides as much as 70 percent of the steam used in the center. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

In FY 2011, NASA's Langley Research Center implemented a focused initiative to increase use of steam produced at the NASA/City of Hampton Waste-to-Energy (WTE) biomass steam plant, and to reduce the use of steam produced at its fossil fuel-powered plant. The Biomass Steam Optimization Program was initiated and energetically led by Langley steam plant contractors, and included research personnel and City of Hampton employees.

As a result of this program, Langley realized a 40 percent reduction in center-wide natural gas consumption in FY 2011, saving more than $500,000 compared to the previous fiscal year. The center’s use of natural gas for steam production dropped more than 76,000 million BTUs (MBTU), a 47 percent reduction. Water consumption for steam production fell by 2 million gallons, a 5 percent reduction from FY 2010, and a 1.6 percent reduction in center-wide use, which helps Langley meet federally mandated reduction goals. The program also reduced Langley’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8,834,187 lbs CO2e.

The program has been institutionalized and is expected to maintain this level of savings during upcoming fiscal years, with additional savings possible.

“The success of this program is a direct reflection of the increased awareness and engagement of the City of Hampton and NASA Langley’s operations and maintenance staffs as well as the close partnering and communications of the management of both Plants and the buy in of the researchers involved,” said Steve Bollman, Manager for Langley’s Plant and Facility Operations. “The solid procedures implemented for the new operation strategy should not only sustain this effort but keep both groups sensitized to the benefits of reduced fuel usage.”

Langley's Headquarters Building.

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Building 2101, which serves as NASA Langley's Headquarters, has been awarded for its efficient use of energy and water resources. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

In the summer of 2009, NASA Langley broke ground on a new Headquarters Building, the first of many buildings as part of the long-term facilities modernization program known as New Town. The $26 million building is a modern, sustainable, 79,000 square- foot office facility. The 148,000 square-foot demolition of old, inefficient space yielded a 69,000 square-foot net increase in green space. It uses 31.5 percent less energy than the comparative new office standard used by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to measure performance, and uses 59 percent less energy than an average Langley office building.

The building reduces potable water use and uses a green roof and water retention area on the North side of the building to minimize storm water runoff. All of these features contribute to the overall sustainability goals of the Center, saving or avoiding $2.5 million every year in operations and maintenance costs.

The highly integrated Langley project team, which teamed with the General Services Administration (GSA), was able to negotiate for additional sustainability features, and they developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) strategy and scorecard for the design-build team to use throughout construction. In 2011, this project was awarded LEED Platinum Certification by the USGBC.

“We are very proud of the New Town Team’s effort to incorporate sustainability features during all phase of the design and construction process,” said Bruce Bishop of Langley’s Projects and Engineering Branch. “The reductions in energy usage and water consumption from this project will help save significant utility and maintenance costs for the Center. These savings can be redirected to other critical needs.”

Awards will be presented to the winners of the 2012 Federal Energy and Water Management Awards at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. in October.

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman