The facility underwent a series of energy efficiency facility upgrades from 2016 to 2018 to improve the environmental and sustainable features and building performance. The project began with the installation of solar panels planned to produce enough renewable energy to cover the energy load for the facility. KC Parks in partnership with David Broustis, King County Department of Natural Resources Energy Manager, and supported by a Washington State Department of Commerce grant, completed the installation of a 37.5 kilowatt photo-voltaic (PV) system on the roof of the North Utility crew building in 2017. It was expected to produce 33,200 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The PV system is interconnected to the Puget Sound Energy electric grid network and began producing solar power on August 8, 2017. Following this initial solar panel installation, additional energy upgrades to the crew building, including the installation of a new energy efficient HVAC system and changing to LED lights, further improved the energy performance of the building. The facility reached Zero Energy following a second solar panel installation on the south roof of the parking/ workshop building in mid-2018 that raised the expected solar energy production at the facility to 44,600 kilowatt hours of electricity for 2018.
The process of achieving Zero Energy for the North Utility Maintenance facility was done through a series of building upgrades while monitoring the variable energy use of the facility. Following an increase in energy use at the facility due to bollard fabrication in the workshop, the combination of solar energy generated by PVs on two buildings, the new energy efficient HVAC system, and switching to LED lights resulted in the facility hitting its zero energy target during the 12-month monitoring period. Thus, the efforts to reduce the facility’s heating, cooling, and lighting needs also contributed to the project’s energy gains. Additionally, the second installation of solar panels on a south facing roof increased the total yearly generation of solar energy.
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