In a live, virtual event, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner the State of Maryland for energy efficiency leadership. As a Goal Achiever, Maryland reduced its energy intensity by 20% over its 9-million-square-foot buildings portfolio, and has now committed to another goal of 15% energy reduction from a 2018 baseline across a broader portfolio of over 90 million square feet.
During the virtual event, Maryland staff outlined several of the state’s efficiency strategies for reaching and exceeding its Better Buildings Challenge goal. DOE and Maryland staff virtually toured the state’s Western Maryland Railway Station, a Better Buildings Showcase Project that saves 21% annually on energy costs compared to a 2016 baseline. The building serves as the headquarters of the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority (CPPDA) and houses offices for elected officials and local businesses, a museum, and a park and visitor’s center.
As a historic facility, the 25,000-square-foot station presented unique challenges for energy efficient improvements. With support from DOE, Maryland and CPPDA first conducted an energy audit of the facility and identified several cost-effective energy conservation measures. Renovations included replacing the 20+-year-old HVAC system, replacing more than 500 light fixtures with LEDs, and upgrading the building envelope with new insulation and air sealing.
In addition to saving energy and costs, these upgrades also improved occupant comfort. Station tenants were previously using space heaters at their work stations to address drafts and uncomfortable temperature variations – issues that the new HVAC system has eliminated. Combined, the renovations have also cut station maintenance costs by more than 70% annually.
Maryland’s efficiency work at the Western Maryland Railway Station and its commitment to a second Challenge goal exemplify continuous improvement, a cornerstone of Better Buildings.