Greener work station lighting and power strips could be on the way

GSA welcomes test results on energy-saving building technologies.

The General Services Administration released two reports Wednesday with encouraging test results on energy-saving technological innovations that could be applied widely in federal buildings.

As part of its Green Proving Ground program and to comply with President Obama’s executive order on improving sustainability, the agency worked with the Energy Department’s National Laboratories to test new designs in responsive work-space lighting systems and power plug load control.

“This innovative program is another example of GSA leading the way for the federal government,” said Dorothy Robyn, newly installed as commissioner of the agency’s Public Buildings Service. “By testing the effectiveness of these technologies, GSA is finding new ways that federal buildings across the nation can save both energy and taxpayer dollars.”

The workstation lighting study, conducted in five diversified federal buildings in California and Nevada, showed energy savings from 27 percent to 63 percent over baseline conditions and normal use. Lighting, GSA said in a press release, accounts for 39 percent of electricity costs in office buildings.

The study on plug-in devices whose power is controlled according to a schedule found that the strips trimmed plug loads at workstations by 26 percent and in kitchens and printer rooms by nearly 50 percent. Plug loads account for about 25 percent of electricity consumed in office buildings.

GSA also announced that it will test and evaluate 12 additional emerging sustainable building technologies, among them wireless lighting controls, LED luminaires, glazing retrofit coatings, wireless pneumatic thermostats, solar thermal collectors and water-saving landscape irrigation systems. The goals are to reduce operational costs in federal buildings and help industry introduce new technologies and practices to the marketplace.

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