NEW LONDON, Conn. – The largest Utility Energy Savings Contract ever awarded by the Department of Homeland Security was recently completed at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
One of the smallest and most specialized of the nation’s five federal service academies, the Academy has been located in New London since 1910. The institution moved to its present home, a sprawling 103-acre campus on the west bank of the Thames River, back in 1932.
The energy savings project, which began in late 2017, has transformed the 87-year old campus into a more resilient, modern and sustainable institution.
The project included $39 million in capital improvements designed to reduce total electricity imported from the grid by nearly 80 percent, reduce overall energy consumption by 48 percent and reduce annual energy costs at the Academy by more than $2 million.
The project has substantively updated the institution’s energy infrastructure and impacted a number of facilities from student barracks to the academic laboratories. Overall, more than a dozen upgrades were completed in 30 different buildings across campus. “Anytime we can invest in the infrastructure onboard the service’s only accession point for officers we are making an investment in the long term strength of the service,” said Rear Admiral Bill Kelly, Academy Superintendent.
A natural gas plant was included in the project that was supplemented with a combined heat and power plant that generates one megawatt of electricity onsite with a micro-turbine generator. The result greatly improves the reliability of the Academy’s electrical systems and increases the institution’s energy resiliency.
In addition, the project incorporated renewable and onsite energy generation and implemented numerous energy and water conservation measures, lighting improvements, and the installation of rooftop solar arrays.
One of the main outcomes of the project is that the overall energy savings takes the Academy, previously the third largest consumer of energy within the U.S. Coast Guard, out of the service’s top 10 energy consumer list altogether.
The institution worked with the energy company Eversource and subcontractor Ameresco to manage the project which is funded through energy cost savings. According to Eversource, the improvements will reduce the Academy’s carbon emissions by around 7,800 metric tons of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to taking more than 1,600 cars off the road.