Alabama receives $20.9M fed grant to improve prison energy efficiency


Published: Birmingham Business Journal

By Jimmy DeButts Staff

The Alabama Department of Corrections has been awarded a $20.9 million economic stimulus grant to help cut prison utility bills by upgrading equipment at state facilities.

The department will replace inefficient equipment with new devices that are energy efficient and, in some cases, use renewable energy technology, according to a news release. The improvements will save corrections more than $2 million per year, according to department estimates.

The planned upgrades include:

· Replacement of lighting systems at several facilities with devices that produce an equivalent amount of light using lower wattage bulbs.

· Replacement of old kitchen equipment, including mobile hot carts, ovens, broilers and steam kettles, with Energy-Star models that use less energy and cook food faster.

· Installation of new temperature control and monitoring systems for walk-in refrigerators and freezers. The systems optimize the operation of units and record and log data to help facility managers detect and fix problems earlier.

· Replacement of old air conditioners and heat pumps with high-efficiency split system heat pumps that both heat and cool.

· Installation of programmable thermostats in administrative areas to automatically reduce heating and cooling during times the buildings are not occupied such as nights and weekends.

· Purchase of three biomass generators for Limestone Correctional Facility. The systems will convert wood chips into gases that can generate limited electrical power.

· Establishment of a centrally-located biogas plant that will collect food and oil waste from prison kitchens and process it into methane gas. The gas can be used to power some kitchen equipment that currently uses propane gas as a fuel.

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