With contributions from Lt. Cmdr. John D. Berry, facilities engineer at Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen.
Electrical efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability may never be more important than on a Caribbean island.
“Reducing the Coast Guard’s energy consumption and developing renewable energy solutions in Puerto Rico not only helps the Coast Guard meet federal mandates, reduce green house gas emissions and stabilize energy costs, but it also can help create green collar jobs in Puerto Rico. This project will have a significant impact on the industry there,” said Capt. John Hickey, commanding officer of Coast Guard Shore Maintenance Command in Seattle.
Late last year, the Coast Guard awarded a first of its kind contract for the federal government that combined an Energy Savings Performance Contract and an Energy Services Agreement. The $58.8 million project maximizes the capture of incentives and overall value to the Coast Guard. The project will allow for the installation of new roofs along with solar photovoltaic (PV) power at multiple Coast Guard facilities in Puerto Rico, including Rio Bayamon housing, Air Station Borinquen and Air Station Borinquen housing.
“The Energy Savings Performance Contract is an excellent example of the Coast Guard partnering with industry to develop and implement energy saving solutions that will greatly benefit our community,” said Capt. Mel Bouboulis, commanding officer of Air Station Borinquen. “With the abundance of sunshine throughout the year in Puerto Rico, harnessing that energy and converting it to electricity through solar panel systems is an outstanding design for this part of the world.”
In early January contractors began working on phase one of the project at Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, which includes the installation of all new “cool roofs” and solar PV on more than 220 Air Station Borinquen housing units. They have begun work on 71 housing units and plan to complete the first 15 units with fully functioning solar PV systems in mid-July.
Additionally, the Air Station’s hangar area will receive energy efficient renovations. Preliminary designs include the construction of covered parking structures with rooftop solar PV systems that not only generate electrical power but also provide shade for parked vehicles.
The project’s goal is to reduce the annual cooling load of the renovated buildings by 3.9 billion BTUs, resulting in an overall reduction of utility-purchased electricity by an estimated 40 percent. Equally important, the project will provide each housing unit with a 23 year warranty against leakage – a welcome relief for the Coast Guard’s men and women who are responsible for maintaining the more than 40 year old structures.
“Air Station Borinquen is proud to be at the leading edge of this historic project as it supports the Coast Guard’s commitment to environmental stewardship and hopefully serves as a model for other federal agencies in the future,” said Bouboulis.