Greening the prison-industrial complex
The energy efficient, green upgrades movement has reached beyond commercial office buildings. The greening of U.S prison systems shows how a commitment to energy efficient and renewable-energy technologies can benefit all building types.
The energy efficient, green upgrades movement has reached beyond commercial office buildings. Home to more than two million Americans, the greening of U.S prison systems shows a re-commitment to energy efficient and renewable energy technologies. Nationwide, states have been incorporating energy efficient6 techniques in various programs and building designs.
The Washington State Dept. of Corrections boats 34 LEED-certified facilities, with 923,789 sq ft of LEED-certified space added in 2008. At the Cedar Creek Corrections Center, Littlerock, Wash., inmates report to a compost heap for work duty; instead of a kitchen or boiler room. The inmates at Cedar Creek grow organic produce and compost the mass amounts of waste the prison creates. The state of Washington is not alone in its quest to green their prisons.
In the fall of 2008, the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced 16 new green retrofitting projects. The projects will save an estimated $3.2 million in energy costs each year. The 16 energy efficiency retrofit projects statewide will save 25-million-kW-hrs and 650,000 therms of energy each year at CDCR facilities, the equivalent of taking 3,770 cars off the road. The retrofit projects at each prison are conducted by private contractors, and include HVAC retrofits, lighting retrofits, and motor upgrades. Part of the cost is paid for by investor owned utilities (IOU’s) at no cost to the state General Fund.
IOU’s include Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison Company, Southern California Gas Company, and San Diego Gas and Electric Company. The remaining funds for the projects were secured through low-interest loans from the Dept. of General Services.
The Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, Calif., is one of two prisons in California that features solar power fields. At Ironwood, the 1.18 MW solar-power plant provides enough electricity to power a quarter of the prison’s needs. The 6,000 solar panels cover 13 acres of land at Ironwood and will save $50,000 in utility costs per year. SunEdison built and maintains the plants with its own
California currently has solar power fields at two facilities, and is building six more in the coming year. The recently completed, $176-million juvenile detention facility in Alameda County, Calif., became the country’s first prison to receive LEED gold certification.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.