The installation of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) first operational biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant at the Chillicothe, OH, VA Medical Center (VAMC) was among only 14 federal projects in the nation (and only 25 individuals, groups, and agencies overall) to win a 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award in recognition of its significant achievements in fiscal year (FY) 2012. Funded in part by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the biomass facility is part of a $25.5-million design-build project to replace an aging boiler plant and steam distribution system with a new high-efficiency natural gas/oil-fired boiler plant. The project is a component of an extensive 40-yr plan to implement sustainable, cost-effective practices at the Chillicothe VAMC.
Over the course of the project, the design-build team collaborated on several mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) design alternatives with favorable impacts on project costs, schedule, and functionality. These alternatives saved a total of more than $580,000 on various components of the project, allowing for reinvestment of project capital into higher-value equipment, construction of an enclosed facility for the emergency generator, and the addition of a 125-ton absorption chiller to one of the buildings on the campus, which uses the steam generated during the summer to increase energy efficiency.