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Postal Service turns to GridPoint to cut energy use

By Marjorie Censer
Monday, May 24, 2010; 10

The U.S. Postal Service has tapped Arlington-based GridPoint to help the agency reduce its energy use by supplying a technology designed to centrally manage energy consumption from remote locations.

The company said the deal, which is worth up to $28.8 million, marks GridPoint's largest contract with the government to date.

John Clark, a GridPoint executive vice president, said the energy management system will be rolled out to 750 sites within the contract's first year. The award then includes two one-year options that would each add another 750 sites.

The Postal Service has identified the first batch of locations, expected to provide the most value based on their size, energy consumption and condition, according to Rob McNiece, who oversees energy program management for the Postal Service. Testing of the systems is set to soon begin, he said.

GridPoint acquired the energy management technology when it bought Roanoke-based ADMMicro in November, Clark said.

Once installed in a site, the submetering system works with various devices, such as the lighting, heating and cooling systems, to monitor how much energy they're using. The energy management systems operate independently within the buildings but are also connected to a centralized system run by the Postal Service.

Using the technology, operators at a remote location can control the settings of various systems and ensure a site is not wasting energy by, for example, cooling the building when no one is using it.

Additionally, the data produced by the energy management system can be aggregated and analyzed to optimize energy use, Clark said.

The Postal Service previously installed the system in 16 different locations, primarily in North Carolina, for over a year, McNiece said. Energy consumption decreased nearly 15 percent at the facilities, with drops of up to 30 percent at some sites.

The savings primarily came from adjusting the temperature when buildings were unoccupied. McNiece said the Postal Service expects similar results from the new sites.

The purchase, which was scheduled to be formally announced May 24, , is part of a larger Postal Service initiative to dramatically reduce the energy consumption of its facilities, according to McNiece.

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