DNR is protecting our communities by reducing our energy footprint

Did you know that a smaller energy footprint contributes to a healthier environment? Using less power reduces the amount of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, which are the leading cause of global warming. On an individual level, we can make conscious choices every day to cut down our energy consumption. As an agency charged with prudent management of our state’s environment, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is always looking for ways to reduce our energy footprint.

The steps that DNR takes begin with the State Efficiency and Environmental Performance Office (SEEP). This division in the Washington Department of Commerce works with state agencies like DNR to help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions in effective and affordable ways. SEEP assists agencies in finding more sustainable and environmentally beneficial options, like electric vehicles and energy-efficient or zero-energy facilities. They also work to actively reduce the amount of single-use plastics used in state government operations.

With the help of SEEP, DNR recently implemented a series of Energy Support Contracting (ESCO) projects to replace or fix inadequate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems across the state.

The first of the series was a year-long project at the Tukes Work Center, where capital and one-time operating funding was used to replace the HVAC system that greatly improved the center’s energy consumption.  

Another project installed a new HVAC system at the Northwest Region Headquarters, using ESCO to improve the performance of the systems and optimize energy use. Steve Dormaier, DNR Northwest Region Assistant Manager for Business & Operations, spoke about the project’s success:

“The work they performed made a huge difference with making the system operate correctly and has substantially helped with employee satisfaction and reducing HVAC complaints,” Dormaier said. “It was necessary work.”

DNR has taken many steps over the years to reduce energy consumption and continue to look for ways to reduce our energy footprint.

The hangar where we maintain our wildfire helicopters was upgraded to be a more efficient building. The lights were replaced with high-efficiency, low-wattage lamps and ballasts, and the heating system was replenished.

Another plan, called the DNR Windows Server Virtualization Project, was completed to consolidate the number of computer servers needed in the Natural Resources Building Data Center. This project not only greatly lowered power consumption, but also brought in $107,359 from Puget Sound Energy.

DNR is always looking for ways to save money, especially if it can help reduce our energy footprint. As an agency, we value our environment and we are conscious of our energy consumption. As an individual, you can make small or big changes in your life to minimize your carbon footprint for a better future