V.I.'s federal buildings get energy upgrade

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ST. THOMAS - The territory's two federal buildings are getting an energy makeover that will cut costs for the federal government.

Workers recently removed the solar panels on the Ron deLugo federal building for roof repairs and additional upgrades.

U.S. General Services Administration spokeswoman Renee Miscione said the federal government awarded a $7.7 million Energy Savings Performance Contract to Schneider Electric last year. The panels were removed in preparation for work to begin, she said.

The GSA is responsible for maintaining the country's federal buildings.

Miscione said the improvements to the deLugo building will include the installation of a new roof, enlarging the existing photovoltaic power system, upgrades to the air conditioning distribution system and controls system, installation of energy efficient lighting and the installation of water conservation measures.

"The project when completed is expected to save approximately $500,000 per year in energy and water costs," she said.

The plan is to replace the existing solar panels, and add more, once the roof repairs are completed, according to Miscione.

Once finished, all of the panels will be on the sides and back of the building, she said.  

The 322 solar panels were installed in 2011 and paid for with stimulus funds.

Miscione said Schneider Electric was also awarded a $6.4 million Energy Savings Performance Contract to made green upgrades to the Almeric Christian Federal Building on St. Croix.

"As part of GSA's Deep Retrofit Challenge, this project will install energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems at the site in St. Croix, making it one of the first federal buildings to achieve 100 percent net zero energy through an ESPC," Miscione said.

The contract for the three-story, 57,872 square foot Almeric Christian Federal Building guarantees a total of more than $13 million in energy savings through a combination of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy production, she said.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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