A project to optimize lighting and water systems at the Lois M. Deberry Special Needs Facility provides more than cost savings. More important, the work completed by SmartWatt, a company that specializes in energy-systems optimization, further protects the safety of staff at the special needs prison operated in Nashville, Tenn., by the Tennessee Department of Correction.
“State officials initially began looking at the project to conserve energy and water,” says Ken Scalf, deputy director of the office of facilities planning & construction with the Tennessee department of correction. “Replacement of decades-old lighting fixtures with new LED technology throughout the prison will reduce electricity consumption and costs significantly.”
At the same time, the lighting from LED fixtures improve safety within the prison, and the long life of the LED fixtures mean maintenance workers can focus their efforts on other maintenance needs.
The previous fixtures themselves had the potential to be a security issue. Loose screws allowed opportunities to potentially store contraband in the old fixtures or allowed them to use the fixture housings.
“SmartWatt’s design and installation of water-conservation technology also creates significant savings,” Scalf says. “Offenders are notorious for wasting water, and water bills are a major expense at most prisons.”
The contract with SmartWatt was developed under a state energy-conservation program that provides complete transparency on pricing and other aspects of the contract.
Use of the contracts allows state agencies as well as local governments and schools to move quickly on energy-conservation improvements rather than facing the delays common in traditional design, bid and build delivery method.
“We had a very good experience with SmartWatt, and we’re proud of the results,” says Scalf. “Correctional facilities are small cities that are complicated to maintain and operate. We teamed with them to create a solution that improves operational aspects.”
SmartWatt also is developing energy-conservation improvements at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in Nashville.