Energy Management Program for SDDOT

State government is increasingly looking to energy conservation strategies as a means of dealing with spiraling costs and declining revenues while striving to maintain levels of service. The process of picking the "lowest hanging fruit" (upgrades to building envelope, insulation, lighting, etc.) is already well underway at the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) through initiatives outlined in the statewide "Sustainable Government Action Plan" initiated in 2009 by the Governor's Office. More recently, a study commissioned by the Bureau of Administration titled Statewide Energy Audits for Energy Master Plan presented an analysis of energy use at selected transportation facilities and identified additional energy conservation measures (ECMs). In that report, inefficiencies were flagged in operations and building design, and recommendations for corrective action offered. Notably, the consultants advocated energy management as a means of facilitating implementation of identified ECMs. While legislative action and administrative initiatives may succeed in nudging state agencies in the right direction, the transition to sustainable operations may be in danger of stalling for lack direction and formal processes in place to support effective decision making. Understandably, state agencies are sometimes reluctant to take on administrative challenges not perceived as a mandate. Centralized energy management programs to organize and administer energy-related activities have not been a priority for South Dakota government. The Statewide Energy Manager (Office of the State Engineer) has indicated that Black Hills State University and the University of South Dakota are the only two state facilities that have instituted energy management programs. Since 1995, EnergyCAP software has been available to state agencies to track agency-wide energy use. At SDDOT, the Division of Finance and Management has adopted the software for utility billing purposes. This alone appears to represent the extent of efforts to manage energy-related activities at the agency level. However, budgetary savings are only one aspect of energy management. Adoption of an agency-wide energy management program would require creation of the necessary management structure to support effective decision making and allocation of necessary resources. After a budget is established and uniform energy policies are in place, work could begin to organize the various processes presently dispersed among DOT facilities across the state into a central energy management framework detailed in a Master Energy Management Plan. If adopted, a plan specific to SDDOT would help coordinate energy-related activities, facilitate implementation of energy efficiency measures aimed at minimizing consumption and costs, promote agency-wide green building standards, and provide support for new technologies and clean and renewable fuels. A case in point illustrates the need for an energy management program at SDDOT. Conventional-hot water floor heating systems have proved to be a viable alternative for space heating at transportation facilities. A rest area in Chamberlain chosen to demonstrate this technology employs a state-of-the-art ground source heat pump system for space and hot water heating. However, data to substantiate what everybody suspects--that these types of systems are significantly more efficient than traditional mechanical systems used for space heating--either cannot be found or does not exist. As another example, by statute most new state buildings must now be constructed to United States Green Buildings Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) -Silver standards. However, there are currently no LEED requirements or guidelines for existing structures or smaller renovation projects. An energy management plan would provide guidelines and support for bringing existing facilities under the LEED umbrella. Generally, the costs associated with designing and building an environmentally friendly facility are only slightly higher than conventional construction and design methods. However the operational cost savings extend over a long time. The objectives of this research project are to: (1) evaluate existing energy management strategies and programs at and assess the need for improvement; (2) investigate the feasibility and benefits of implementing a comprehensive, centralized Energy Management Program at SDDOT. Programs typically address major elements such as appropriate energy management structure, budgetary framework, and establishment of energy policy at the agency level; and (3) develop a comprehensive Energy Management Program for SDDOT that includes an agency- wide Master Energy Management Plan. Among other things, a Plan will address specifics related to coordination of energy-related activities, energy efficiency, implementation of energy conservation measures, and deployment of energy capture/alternative energy technologies at SDDOT. Research tasks of this project are as follows:  (1) Meet with the project's technical panel to review the project scope and work plan. (2) Evaluate SDDOT energy management policy, procedures, and management structure currently in place. Define areas needing improvement. (3) Investigate successful agency-wide Energy Management Programs and plans at other government agencies and departments of transportation that would be a good fit for SDDOT. (4) Assess the feasibility, define the costs and benefits, and make recommendations for implementation of a comprehensive Energy Management Program at SDDOT. (5) Meet with the technical panel to approve recommendations for an Energy Management Program and review direction of the project. (6) Design an Energy Management Program for SDDOT consistent with Bureau of Administration policies (to avoid overlap of responsibilities). As a major component of the program, draft a detailed, comprehensive, agency-wide Master Energy Management Plan detailing the architecture to support and facilitate coordination of various energy-related activities within the agency. (7) Meet with the technical panel to review the draft Energy Management Program and Master Energy Management Plan and recommendations for implementation. (8) Revise the draft Energy Management Program and Master Energy Management Plan in accordance with comments of the technical panel. (9) Upon review and approval of the recommendations, Energy Management Program, and Master Energy Management Plan by the technical panel, prepare a final report and executive summary of the research methodology, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. (10) Make an executive presentation to the SDDOT Research Review Board and the Office of the State Engineer at the conclusion of the project.