Trane recently presented its Energy Efficiency Leader Award to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) in Richmond, VA. Trane officials said Virginia DFS was chosen as the 2015 award recipient for sustainably improving the air quality within its Richmond, Norfolk, Roanoke, and Manassas facilities, and for also helping to increase employee comfort and productivity while reducing the state’s environmental impact. 

DFS leaders expect that the improvements, when completed later this year, will reduce energy consumption by over 40% and save more than $1 million of taxpayer dollars in annual energy and operating costs. The project also supports Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2014 Virginia Energy Plan on reducing energy consumption in state buildings and his Executive Order 31 which directs state agencies to reduce their electricity consumption in state buildings by 15% by 2017. 

Upgrades were needed in the four buildings to minimize energy demand and consumption, to update heating plants at the Roanoke, Richmond, and Norfolk facilities, and to ensure building exhaust redundancy in the Richmond facility.

Nearly 300 employees work in the four buildings which total more than 500,000-sq-ft. DFS provides forensic services to more than 400 law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia while remaining independent of any of them.

DFS funded the improvements with a performance contract via the Department of General Services energy services company program for public bodies of the Commonwealth. The performance contract allowed DFS to use future energy and operational savings to finance the infrastructure improvements up front.

Upgrades to the four DFS buildings include ventilation air optimization, energy efficient fume hood retrofits, installation of redundant laboratory exhaust system, controls system optimization, and chilled water plant improvements. The project team also replaced the heating plant in the central laboratory in Richmond and the eastern laboratory in Norfolk and installed a small summertime boiler in the Roanoke lab to improve heating plant performance and reset the life cycle.

To help make sure that updated systems continue to run at optimal efficiency, DFS has incorporated an energy performance offering that pairs the knowledge from a service team with ongoing data monitoring. The process monitors and analyzes data from approximately 100 sub-meters across the DFS asset portfolio so that the facilities team can be informed when systems need attention.