Reducing energy consumption, costs in more than 700 state-owned buildings

By: - August 3, 2023 12:39 pm
NH state buildings energy

A graph from the fiscal year 2022 New Hampshire Annual Energy Report shows energy use in buildings that the state owns using 2005 as a benchmark comparison year. (Screenshot)

The State of New Hampshire owns and operates more than 700 buildings. That number doesn’t include space it leases, like its retail liquor stores, offices, and pump stations and wastewater treatment plants. In fiscal year 2022, the state government spent more than $18.4 million on its own energy costs.

Building on an effort that’s been ongoing since 2005, two state agencies will partner to reduce energy consumption and costs in state buildings utilizing federal funds, as approved by the Executive Council this week.

The Department of Energy and Department of Administrative Services have entered into a memorandum of understanding to use up to $180,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program to promote energy reduction, responsible energy behavior, and energy efficiency strategies in state facilities through education, outreach programs, and building improvements.

Between fiscal years 2005 and 2022, state buildings avoided more than $50 million in energy costs because of specific energy consumption reduction targets, according to the Department of Administrative Services’ annual state energy report. As of last year, through its owned and leased buildings and transportation fleet, the state had reduced its fossil-fuel energy-use intensity by 17.3 percent since 2005.

But New Hampshire is “leaving valuable savings on the table,” the report warned, noting state agencies had identified more than $30 million in potential energy-saving projects.

“If agencies had expanded access to energy audits, retro-commissioning, energy saving performance contracts, and other tools to gather information about their buildings, significantly more cost-saving measures would be uncovered,” the report stated. 

According to documents submitted to the Executive Council, the newly approved federal funds can be used for a wide variety of initiatives, such as building automation; sub-metering of energy or water consumption to provide detailed usage and cost data; energy audits; and insulation, energy efficient lighting, HVAC upgrades, and weather sealing.

The departments can also host energy-related training sessions for state employees, aid in greenhouse gas reduction for the state’s passenger vehicle fleet, or use the money toward the state’s annual energy conference that gives state employees and legislators the opportunity to see energy initiatives in action and learn more about helping the state achieve its goals.

NH state buildings energy
A graph from the fiscal year 2022 New Hampshire Annual Energy Report shows energy consumption and costs in state-owned buildings. (Screenshot)

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Hadley Barndollar
Hadley Barndollar

Hadley Barndollar covers climate, energy, environment, and the opioid crisis for the New Hampshire Bulletin. Previously, she was the New England regional reporter for the USA TODAY Network and was named Reporter of the Year by the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Email: [email protected]