Reducing energy use in correctional facilities

May 1, 2012

Photo courtesy EllisDon [1]
Photo courtesy EllisDon

By Frank Gonzalez
The Government of Canada’s commitment to sustainable development continues to drive its efforts in greening its operations. Such work offers an opportunity to help protect and conserve the environment, as well as contribute to the economy.

The Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) is Canada’s centre of excellence for energy, efficiency, and alternative fuels information. It is mandated to strengthen and expand the country’s dedication to energy efficiency to help address the government’s policy objectives.

Ottawa has committed Canada to a range of measures aimed at decreasing air emissions. Reduced energy use is the most effective and immediate means of meeting these promises and is a valuable tool for environmental protection. Integrating energy efficiency into construction projects also makes good business sense. A one-time investment in energy efficiency today helps achieve ongoing financial benefits tomorrow.

As an indication of just how far the sustainable building movement has come, even prisons are turning ‘green.’ This includes new construction as well as renovation and retrofit projects to make existing buildings more sustainable. There are many initiatives being implemented by both the Federal Corrections System and in each province.

For example, replacing the Regina Provincial Correctional Centre presented an opportunity to build a new, sustainable building with the goal of achieving an energy efficiency target 30 per cent better than Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB) standards. Another example is Windsor, Ont.,’s South West Detention Centre, a 315-bed male and female state-of-the-art detention centre. Set to open in 2013, it is focused on achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification.

A heat recovery system was installed in 2004 on the boiler stacks to capture the heat from the waste flue gases. The system recovers 15 per cent of the heat lost from the central heating plant at Leclerc Institution in Laval, Québec. Photo courtesy Correctional Service of Canada[2]
A heat recovery system was installed in 2004 on the boiler stacks to capture the heat from the waste flue gases. The system recovers 15 per cent of the heat lost from the central heating plant at Leclerc Institution in Laval, Québec.
Photo courtesy Correctional Service of Canada

Federal Building Initiative
The Federal Building Initiative (FBI) is a comprehensive program designed to provide federal facility managers with an opportunity to realize the benefits of improved energy efficiency. Launched in the early 1990s to support retrofits of Canadian federal facilities, the program can help an organization cut energy costs while making buildings more comfortable.

Under FBI, federal organizations are authorized to use private-sector funding (energy performance contracting [EPC]) to finance improvements. Further, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) provides ‘services’ to assist organizations, while monthly savings in utility (i.e. energy and water) expenses are used to pay for project costs. (See “Charting a Course to Energy Independence: Sustainability and Greening Initiatives for Canadian Federal Buildings” from GovEnergy and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). In order to read the report, visit www.govenergy.com/2009/pdfs/presentations/Sustainability-Session02/Sustainability-Session02-Izsak_George.pdf[3]).

Canada’s correctional system
The federal, provincial, and territorial governments share the administration of correctional services in the country. The Correctional Service of Canada is responsible for administering court-imposed sentences for offenders imprisoned for a minimum of two years.

The focus of Correctional Service of Canada’s mandate is to contribute to a just, peaceful, and safe society through the care and custody of inmates, as well as the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into the community. To carry out its mandate, Correctional Service of Canada operates penitentiaries and parole offices. It also employs approximately 16,000 staff across the country and manages:

Maintaining this extensive operation does not come without costs. A study by the Québec Institute for Socio-economic Research and Information (IRIS) revealed annual maintenance and operation costs for prisons will reach $1.6 billion for the federal government and $2.2 billion for the provinces in 2012. Additionally, the annual cost of housing a prisoner in Canada can run anywhere from around $52,000 to $250,000 per person, depending on the facility’s security level (Figures 1 and 2).

This chart shows the amount of money the Correctional Service of Canada spends on energy annually (figures for last five fiscal years).[5]
This chart shows the amount of money the Correctional Service of Canada spends on energy annually (figures for last five fiscal years).
This table is Correctional Service of Canada’s energy use in giga-joules for the past seven years. The group has been decreasing its energy consumption even though it has been expanding in terms of number of occupants and its building footprint. Between 2004 and 2011, Correctional Service of Canada has decreased its normalized energy use (MJ per m2) by more than six per cent. It will continue its efforts to conserve energy.[6]
This table is Correctional Service of Canada’s energy use in giga-joules for the past seven years. The group has been decreasing its energy consumption even though it has been expanding in terms of number of occupants and its building footprint. Between 2004 and 2011, Correctional Service of Canada has decreased its normalized energy use (MJ per m2) by more than six per cent. It will continue its efforts to conserve energy.

Lighting controls and energy consumption
Lighting in commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings often represents as much as 40 per cent of the total electricity costs for those facilities worldwide. (See Leslie Berliant’s “New Way to Reduce Power Consumption for Industrial and Commercial Lighting Promises Huge Savings,” at www.emergingenergy.com[7]). Lighting systems are responsible for larger proportions of overall energy use than other systems—such as HVAC or motors. Aside from indoor environmental controls, lighting systems are responsible for the maximum energy use and expenses.

Finding new ways to reduce energy use can be challenging, and budget cutbacks continue to make maintaining a facility difficult. However, lighting controls offer an excellent opportunity for
energy reduction.

Occupancy sensor lighting controls are very effective; lights simply do not turn on unless movement is detected—this helps cut utility use by as much as half. This type of sensor can be placed into the panel board as well so all of the electricity is turned off until the room becomes occupied.

By using resources more efficiently, correctional institutions can free up funding, staff time, and facility space for other security-oriented activities. In a sample facility with 1200 beds, if utility prices increase by as little as five per cent annually over the next 20 years, the cost to the institution could be as high as $1.2 million or more, which is $1000 per inmate. (For more, see “7 Steps to Save $1000 per Inmate by ‘Going Green:’ How Sustainable Corrections Can Easily Save Your Budget and the Environment,” in Corrections One. Visit www.correctionsone.com/facility-design-and-operation/articles/2473021-7-steps-to-save-1-000-per-inmate-by-going-green[8]).

The Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) is the province’s first green detention centre. It targets Gold under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Photo courtesy TSDC[9]
The Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) is the province’s first green detention centre. It targets Gold under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Photo courtesy TSDC

Improved lighting control technology
Dimming technology has evolved considerably over the last decade, especially in the arc discharge lamp category. What began as a device for simply matching lighting levels to various tasks and moods has emerged as a tool for decreasing energy use. The reduction in light output can be accomplished either as a step function or as a continuous one. (See Joe Knisley’s “Understanding Lamp Dimming,” in the February 2003 issue of Electrical Construction and Maintenance).

A ballast is an internal device built into a fixture intended to limit the amount of current in the electric circuit. Fluorescent lamps require a burst of power to move to full brightness, but less power once they are fully on. It is the job of the fixture’s ballast to regulate this variability in electrical current. In this application, the Toronto South Detention Centre (TSDC) installed a control system requiring the use of a digital addressable lighting interface (DALI) dimming ballast incorporated into each fixture.

DALI defines a new standard for digital communication between a lighting system’s individual components. It provides simplified communication and installation, yet maximum control and flexibility; wiring is simpler, installation fees are lower, and each ballast can be individually controlled. Additionally, maintenance costs are reduced through central monitoring of ballast and lamp status, and energy expenses are lowered through daylight harvesting and standard controls, such as occupancy sensors.

Lighting controls in action: TSDC
Construction of the new $330-million, 1650-bed detention centre ensures current and future capacity needs are met and resolves issues regarding overcrowding at the aging Toronto jail. The complex contains an integrated state-of-the-art security system and all essential functional components, including:

On behalf of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), Infrastructure Ontario built a new maximum security detention centre on the site of the old Mimico Correctional Facility. Toronto South Detention Centre consists of four main towers to house inmates along with a large administration building and a new Toronto Intermittent Centre that replaces the function of the previous Mimico facility.

This new building is part of MCSCS’ strategy to address health and safety issues and inefficiencies of design, technology, and space by replacing older facilities that do not meet current operational requirements and are experiencing significant and growing remand pressures.

TSDC’s design and construction adheres to the guidelines and sustainability principles of Canada’s Green Building Council’s (CaGBC’s) LEED rating system. Under the aforementioned FBI, all new federal office buildings are required to meet LEED Gold, and renovations of existing office buildings must meet Silver. By focusing on a healthy indoor environment, reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and efficient use of energy, water, and other resources, the facility achieved the requisite Silver level. The first green-certified detention centre in the province, TSDC’s sustainable design includes:

The facility’s form begins with a two-storey front building that provides the core elements, and rises to two seven-level housing towers. The entry structure relates to the street and its pedestrian scale. The design was reviewed and approved by the City of Toronto for compliance with urban design principles going beyond the requirements of zoning and planning ordinance.

To reach high-performance lighting goals and meet LEED requirements within budget, Crossey Engineering, in collaboration with Ozz Electric, selected fluorescent luminaires using 347-V DALI dimming ballasts. More than 2500 maximum security fixtures were installed––of these, approximately 900 were specifically for the cells. Energy-efficient T5HO lamp sources were customized by adding DALI dimming ballasts––for use with controls––to further optimize the fixtures’ efficiency. This has enabled the facility to realize attractive cost and energy savings on an ongoing basis, offsetting the initial price of its lighting investment.

The building design team’s intention was to save as much energy as possible in the seven-storey, 20,439-m2 (220,000-sf) prison building, while creating the correct lighting environment with the appropriate lighting fixtures to provide maximum efficiency.

Conclusion
From a sustainability standpoint, correctional facilities are 24-hour, energy-intensive structures that focus on security. The benefit of greening correctional facilities is they will consume fewer resources, create less pollution, and provide healthier environments for the users––inmates, staff, visitors, and administrators. (See Mindy Feldbaum, Frank Greene, and Sherry Carroll’s “Greening of Corrections: Creating a Sustainable System.”)

While the primary goal of correctional buildings is safety for the community and for those housed and working within the facilities, increasingly, sustainability goals and strategies are being integrated into the policy and planning initiatives of the corrections community. Lighting controls coupled with state-of-the-art luminaires provide an excellent solution to reducing energy consumption and costs.

Frank Gonzalez is the regional sales manager with Kenall in Gurnee, Ill., a producer and supporter of durable lighting solutions for demanding environments such as correctional facilities. Gonzalez has worked in the lighting manufacturing business for 27 years and is a longtime member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). He can be reached via e-mail at fgonzales@kenall.com.

Endnotes:
  1. [Image]: http://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/MG_4234-cropped.jpg
  2. [Image]: http://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/330-Leclerc-heat-recovery-system.jpg
  3. www.govenergy.com/2009/pdfs/presentations/Sustainability-Session02/Sustainability-Session02-Izsak_George.pdf: http://www.govenergy.com/2009/pdfs/presentations/Sustainability-Session02/Sustainability-Session02-Izsak_George.pdf
  4. www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/pblct/environmentRpt/sds_e.pdf: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/pblct/environmentRpt/sds_e.pdf
  5. [Image]: http://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Fe1.jpg
  6. [Image]: http://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Fe2.jpg
  7. www.emergingenergy.com: http://www.emergingenergy.com
  8. www.correctionsone.com/facility-design-and-operation/articles/2473021-7-steps-to-save-1-000-per-inmate-by-going-green: http://www.correctionsone.com/facility-design-and-operation/articles/2473021-7-steps-to-save-1-000-per-inmate-by-going-green
  9. [Image]: http://www.constructioncanada.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/TSDC5.jpg

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