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Archive for October, 2010

Saving Your Facility from High Energy Costs

October 28th, 2010

According to the 2010 ACA Summer Conference Report, in a sample facility with 1,200 beds, if utility prices rise by as little as 5% per year over the next 20 years, costs for the institution could be as high as $1,200,000 or more. This equates to $1,000 per inmate. If the goal of corrections institutions today is reducing costs, how do they go about escaping this escalating expense?

In our last post, we focused on how facilities could save on water consumption. This post will focus on reducing energy costs for sustainability.

Lighting Upgrades

It has been noted that lighting improvements give faster returns on investment than other means. Boulder, Colorado, County Jail and the El Dorado State Correctional Facility in Kansas are now using skylights as a way to harvest daylight. These facilities also replaced T12 fluorescent fixtures with T-8 fixtures, provided LED task lights, and swapped incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. El Dorado State Correctional Facility in Kansas invested $2.1 million in several energy-saving methods, including lighting, and is saving $247,517 per year. The return on investment over 10 years: 12%.

Before determining what lighting technology to implement, it is important to do your homework. Understand the costs and benefits of each lighting component. Understand what you gain from each level of technology versus the cost. If you misapply the technology or if it is not installed correctly, users will become dissatisfied. Don’t focus too much on a particular aspect of the project and understand the correct application for individual controls versus system controls.

ENERGY STAR Appliances
You see this symbol on a range of products. ENERGY STAR appliances meet the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. You can save up to 25% or more on energy used by replacing appliances like clothes washers, refrigerators, freezers, and water coolers. By requiring inmate TV’s to have this seal of approval and appliances and machinery in prison industry shops, you will use 30-40% less energy. By shutting off vending machines when not in use can alone save up to 50% of the electricity.

Get Staff and Inmates Involved
HMYOI Deerbolt has implemented a lot of initiatives that have helped create a “green” culture within the prison. Site manager Brian Coats says that it has been shown that you can save up to 20% of your energy bills without any investment. One way they have done this is by getting the inmates and staff thinking green. They hold ongoing greening committees that allow inmates to create ideas to reduce energy consumption. There is also an incentive program for inmates who are caught saving energy. Staff trainings include ways staff can save energy in their own homes and show them how much money the facility spends on energy compared to other things like C&R equipment. This has given the staff an incentive to change their energy-consuming habits in order to get things they want.

What types of energy-saving tactics has your facility used? We’d love to hear from you.
To get more tips on how correctional facilities can save money, follow this blog. For water-saving ideas, see our previous blog.

mwentworth Uncategorized

How to Plan for Reducing Water Consumption

October 28th, 2010

For those in charge of building correctional facilities, you understand the looming budgetary crisis that is at the forefront of every decision made within the facility. There is no doubt that by implementing environmentally friendly practices and technologies within the building design future operational costs will decrease and operators will be able to run their facilities within budget and be able to invest in security and rehabilitative measures.

But making a correctional facility more environmentally friendly is a challenging task when taking into account security, regulatory restrictions and the 24-hour occupancy levels and usage needs. One specific problem is water consumption. From showers, laundry, kitchens and landscaping, large amounts of water are consumed within prison facilities. According to Supply Link, the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, Calif., housing 4,000 inmates and 1,300 support staff, uses over 290 million gallons of water per year. The cost: $1,900,000. Here are some tips on how to minimize consumption.

Go Tech

By implementing PC-based water systems, security is able to control individual or group plumbing fixtures in a cell or cells, group showers or individual showers to reduce and manage water usage. Also, using treated, recovered water gathered from rain and air handler condensation for toilet flushing will reduce the consumption of potable water. Due to Calif. Governor’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s state of emergency declaration on water shortage in 2009, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) implemented flush meters in many of the institutions across the state. The buildings that used them saw an average savings of 27 percent annually.

Improve Fixtures

North Carolina’s Butner Federal Prison, the first LEED-certified correctional institution in the United States, uses low-flow plumbing fixtures, like toilets, urinals and shower heads, to save on water consumption. San Mateo County in California has reduced their water consumption by as much as 20 percent by installing these efficient plumbing fixtures.

“Green” the Landscaping

If the facility is located in a hot, dry climate, reduce outdoor watering by planting drought-tolerant native plants. Construct the recreation field out of synthetic grass and/or recycled tires. Harvest water by using a rain barrel, which collects and stores rain water runoff from roofs or gutters in order to water outside greenery. Or insert a swale like The Women’s Garden Project created for Evergreen Corrections Center in British Columbia, Canada. Swales are shallow, low depressions in the ground, lined with trees. They collect stormwater, infiltrating the surrounding soil and cleansing the water as it becomes absorbed.

To learn more about these water-saving methods, view an article by
If you have more to say on this topic, create a comment below; we’d like to hear from you.

mwentworth Uncategorized