20x2020 Newsletter | April 14, 2016

April 2016  

Success Story: Department of Human Services

Among the many success stories being generated by the 20x2020 Program, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services stands out as a sterling example of how good habits can cumulatively have a significant budget impact.  Motivated to reduce operating expenses in order to continue providing critical social services to Oklahomans, DHS has maintained a commitment to their energy efficiency goals since the launch of the 20x2020 Program. 

DHS united a team of relevant stakeholders from their property and facilities management units, their leadership team, county directors and building administrators, allowing everyone to get accurate information and make immediate decisions. Following along as they attended every training offered by ES2, the DHS energy management team implemented a systematic approach to developing their behavioral energy management program. Cathy Downey, budget analyst III in Facilities Management, took responsibility for the agency’s utility bill data entry, while Debbie Holt, administrator of DHS Property Management, and her team of project managers took on the additional role of energy managers. Their team engaged DHS staff in a plug load inventory, established Energy Conservation Guidelines with input from the executive team, and visited each field office periodically to give informative presentations and conduct a walkthrough while they worked on other projects. To keep their reminders light-hearted, DHS designed mascots Les Energy and his horse Volt. 

Les Energy and Volt cartoon

DHS recently received recognition for their successful energy management when the LeFlore County DHS office received ENERGY STAR certification, which signifies that it performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency. When DHS decided to select a county office to engage as a demonstration site for their energy conservation program, Sevilla Vance, director at DHS LeFlore, was eager for LeFlore County to lead the way. 

“With the current state budget crisis, DHS is doing everything we can to conserve money for direct client services. Our success is due to individuals from every division working together to fully implement the agency's Energy Conservation Guidelines and make conservation a priority in the operation of our building.” said Vance. “I am proud of our employees who have made an effort to modify their daily habits to reduce energy use.”

Temur Akhmedov (ES2), Sevilla Vance (DHS) and Claire Farr (ES2) at the ceremony recognizing DHS LeFlore County’s recent ENERGY STAR certification.

As Debbie Holt observed, “I believe that LeFlore County is an example of what’s becoming the norm across our entire agency. Through our 20x2020 Program, our employees are becoming so much more aware of daily opportunities to use energy more efficiently.”  Across the agency, DHS used 20 percent less energy in fiscal year 2015 than they did in fiscal year 2012. This allowed DHS to spend about $500,000 less on energy bills in FY 15 than in FY 12. In addition to the 20x2020 Program, these figures reflect that DHS has opened or closed several facilities to align the building portfolio with their current organizational mission. In the facilities that have been in DHS’s portfolio since fiscal year 2012, energy use was 10 percent lower in FY 15
than in FY 12. (cont. in next column)

Energy Start Certification Recipients

Temur Akhmedov (ES2), Sevilla Vance (DHS) and Claire Farr (ES2) at the ceremony recognizing DHS LeFlore County’s recent ENERGY STAR certification.

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Overall, DHS is establishing energy efficient behavior as standard operating procedure and continues to seek opportunities for improvement. As Holt explained, “When county directors and building administrators take our energy conservation mission seriously, their staff is much more likely to work hard to make positive changes. I think that the majority of our people are thinking about eliminating energy waste and thinking about what each of them can do to make it better.” The agency plans to continue to reduce energy expenses in order to preserve funding for their critical client services for Oklahomans.

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Director's Update

I wanted to report that the program as a whole is doing well. For organizations that have information up to date through December 2015, when comparing the first six months of FY 16 to the baseline of FY 12 our usage per square foot is down 5.1 percent. Over the same time period our expenses are down 11.5 percent per square foot. Expenses are down partially due to the usage being lower. However, many organizations are seeing lower utility costs due to much lower fuel costs on their electric and natural gas utility bills. The low prices for oil and natural gas that are affecting our budget crisis are at the same time helping in our utility costs. Because of this unique situation, effective May 21, 2016, the state consultant contract SW125 – State Facilities Behavior-Based Energy Conservation Program will end. The 20x2020 Program will continue, it is only the consultant services that are ending. The contract termination is in the best interest of the state. 

The information being entered into the EnergyCap database will continue. The 20x2020 Program will continue. My office will remain the primary point of contact for any questions concerning the program. The newsletter will continue and training sessions will still occur. Like I stated, the program will continue. 

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time. 

Craig Cherry
Director, 20x2020

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Energy Saving Tip

A robust energy management program provides the ability to be proactive in finding solutions to challenges presented by your building systems. For buildings with Building Automation Systems (BAS), a highly cost effective solution is to utilize the graphical user interface and perform “screen checks.” Screen checks allow the user to take all of the data on their set points, status points and other metrics and turn it into a diagnostic tool.

Before performing a screen check, it is important that the system is calibrated.  After ensuring that the system is working properly, the user should look at static pressures, damper positions, fan/pump speeds and set points to verify that everything is operating properly. Any data that does not make sense should be followed up on immediately. Below are some tips to guide the process:

  • Start with central systems first, and then spot check smaller zones.
  • Frequency of screen checks depends on the system, but a quarterly scan should be conducted at a minimum.
  • Specific checks should be performed when particular equipment is being utilized. For example, economizers should be checked during mild weather even if not part of the quarterly routine.
  • Look at trend data (if available) when more data is needed to troubleshoot an issue identified by the screen check.

For more information on BAS, visit Teamwork’s Energy Manager Resources project and click on the Files and Links headers. 

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Email 20x2020@omes.ok.gov.

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