Putting Green Technologies to the Test


Posted by Dorothy Robyn, Commissioner, Public Buildings Service on December 11, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 12, 2013 – (RealEstateRama) — GSA’s Green Proving Ground program is exploring new ways to mitigate the impact of our built environment on the natural environment. The Green Proving Ground tests promising sustainable building technologies in the real-world setting of federal facilities to evaluate their potential to reduce resource consumption and improve building performance. Additionally, the Green Proving Ground seeks to provide data and insights that will accelerate the broader commercialization and deployment of sustainable building technologies.

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The Green Proving Ground is moving full steam ahead to release our latest evaluation results, to select more technologies for study, and to deploy those technologies that our tests show to be ready for immediate use.

Today, we are releasing three new sets of results. They join six studies that GSA has already published through the Green Proving Ground.

Here are the highlights from today’s releases:

High performance (High-R) window retrofits use advanced materials to deliver up to a seven-fold improvement in the thermal performance of windows. At a GSA test bed location in Provo Utah, installation of a High-R retrofit kit reduced heating loads by up to 41 percent.

Variable speed chillers equipped with magnetic levitation (maglev) bearing compressors represent an important innovation in commercial air conditioning. By eliminating the metal-on-metal friction of traditional compressors, maglev technology improves energy efficiency while minimizing any negative impacts of noise and vibration. Maglev technology can be incorporated as partial compressor-only retrofits, or as full chiller upgrades for systems that have reached the end of their useful life.

In an effort to address one of the leading sources of on-site energy generation, the Photovotaic (PV) Guidance report explores conditions and practices associated with successful PV projects in GSA’s portfolio. In this report, the Green Proving Ground assessed the execution and management of 63 GSA-owned PV projects to identify a broad set of best practices for on-site PV deployment. The report’s findings are divided into five main categories of project management, site limitations, interconnection agreements, technical issues, and economic constraints.

As an ongoing effort, the Green Proving Ground is continuing to identify new technologies for analysis while proceeding with evaluations of 22 technologies we have previously selected. In August, 2013 we selected five new technologies to study: (1) wireless lighting controls, (2) occupant-responsive HVAC controls, (3) modular, low temperature absorption chillers, (4) highly efficient rooftop HVAC units, and (5) LED replacement troffers with integrated occupancy and daylight controls. Last month, we issued a Request for Information that asked industry and academia to identify additional technologies for evaluation—technologies that have real potential to change the way we operate buildings.

Finally, GSA is deploying those technologies that our research shows to be ready for immediate use. In the spring of 2014, we will begin installing over 16,000 advanced power strips in over eighty facilities across our portfolio and complete the installation of wireless sensor networks in two GSA-operated data centers.
For more information about GSA’s Green Proving Ground Program, please visit: www.gsa.gov/GPG

Dan Cruz
Press Secretary
U.S. General Services Administration
Cell: 202-441-0607

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