The U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C. comprises some of the most historic, symbolic, and heavily used buildings in the nation. Among these are the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the House and Senate office buildings, the U.S. Botanic Gardens, the Capitol Visitors Center, and various support facilities (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). Within these buildings, national public policy is made, legislation is enacted, and priceless artifacts and historic documents are stored and displayed. Each year these facilities are visited by millions of people from around the world. They also serve as the workplaces of 535 congressional representatives, the justices of the Supreme Court, their staffs, the staff of the Library of Congress, and others.
The special nature of the U.S. Capitol Complex and its many and diverse stakeholders create a unique context for decision making about the future requirements of the Capitol Power Plant. Political and environmental factors are major elements, as indicated by the Green the Capitol Initiative (Beard, 2007) and the interests of residents in neighborhoods surrounding the Complex and the CPP. Physical factors, such as space constraints for the CPP and the distribution system, also strongly influence decision making about them. Other significant influences include rapid changes in potentially appropriate energy technologies, and funding challenges.
The responsibility for operating and maintaining the U.S. Capitol Complex lies with the Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC).1 The CPP operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per
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1 Introduction The U.S. Capitol Complex in Washington, D.C. comprises some of the most historic, symbolic, and heavily used buildings in the nation. Among these are the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the House and Senate office buildings, the U.S. Botanic Gardens, the Capitol Visitors Center, and various support facilities (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). Within these buildings, national public policy is made, legislation is enacted, and priceless artifacts and historic documents are stored and displayed. Each year these facilities are visited by millions of people from around the world. They also serve as the workplaces of 535 congressional representatives, the justices of the Supreme Court, their staffs, the staff of the Library of Congress, and others. FIGURE 1.1 U.S. Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, and the Capitol Complex surroundings. SOURCE: AOC Web Site. The special nature of the U.S. Capitol Complex and its many and diverse stakeholders create a unique context for decision making about the future requirements of the Capitol Power Plant. Political and environmental factors are major elements, as indicated by the Green the Capitol Initiative (Beard, 2007) and the interests of residents in neighborhoods surrounding the Complex and the CPP . Physical factors, such as space constraints for the CPP and the distribution system, also strongly influence decision making about them. Other significant influences include rapid changes in potentially appropriate energy technologies, and funding challenges. The responsibility for operating and maintaining the U.S. Capitol Complex lies with the 1 Office of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC). The CPP operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per 1 The AOC is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the U.S. Capitol Complex, which includes the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, 5
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FIGURE 1.2 Map of the U.S. Capitol Complex. (The Capitol Power Plant is at the bottom of the map, north of the CSX railroad tracks, and the coal yard is south of the railroad tracks.) SOURCE: AOC Web site. year to generate the steam and chilled water required to heat and cool these buildings and related equipment. Steam and chilled water in turn are distributed tothe individual buildings through utility lines contained within more than 3 miles of tunnels and trenches located beneath city 2 streets and neighborhoods. 3 Originally built in 1909 to supply steam and electricity to the U.S. Capitol, the CPP has been expanded in a decades-long process to provide utility services to about 19 million square 4 feet of space, including the Government Printing Office and Union Station(Figure 1.3). the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Power Plant, and other facilities. 2 The tunnels also carry other utilities, including fiber optic and telephone lines. 3 The CPP stopped producing electricity in the 1950s; electricity is now supplied to the U.S. Capitol Complex by the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO). 4 The Government Printing Office and Union Station are not part of the U.S. Capitol Complex per se, but they are served by the CPP district energy system. 6
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FIGURE 1.3 Capitol Power Plant circa 1909. SOURCE: AOC. FIGURE 1.4 Site plan of Capitol Power Plant. SOURCE: AOC. 5 T oday, the CPP district energy system includes a steam plant, two refrigeration plants, administrative buildings, a coal yard, and 3 miles of distribution tunnels that carry the steam and chilled water pipes from the plant to the various buildings (Figure 1.4). The condition of the distribution tunnels, which are 50 to 100 years old, is deteriorating. Complaints of unsafe working conditions in the tunnels arose as a result of hazards such as falling concrete, asbestos, and extreme heat, as well as the lack of communication systems, lighting, and adequate egress in an emergency. In 2006, the AOC issued its Utility Tunnel Improvement Plan as directed by the House Committee on Appropriations. Actions are being taken to abate the identified hazards including asbestos, and additional updating activities are ongoing. Agreements were negotiated with the Office of Compliance specifying maximum distances between points of 5 A district energy system produces steam, hot water, or chilled water at a central plant and then pipes them out to buildings in the district for space heating, domestic hot water heating, and air conditioning. A system of this type eliminates the need for individual buildings to have their own boilers or furnaces, chillers, or condensers for air conditioners. 7
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FIGURE 1.5. Workers inside one of the CPP tunnels. SOURCE: AOC. egress and other conditions related to worker safety (Figure 1.5) (GAO, 2006). At the CPP , steam is generated through seven boilers that burn a combination of low- sulfur coal, natural gas, and fuel oil. The plant has the flexibility to switch among three different fuel types or burn a combination of fuels. Thus, in the event of supply disruptions or price fluctuations, the AOC can adjust the mix of fuels being used to continue providing reliable utilities without interruption. Currently, the CPP accounts for more than 30 percent of the total energy consumption and 37 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions attributable to the U.S. Capitol Complex (GAO, 2008). In 2007, the AOC completed the construction of the new W est Refrigeration Plant Expansion Project, which included the installation of new, high-efficiency chillers, pumps, and cooling towers and included the use of environmentally friendly 134-A refrigerant. The following year, new control systems were installed on several boilers to improve equipment operability and efficiency. The CPP operates under the Title V permitting program established under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EP A ’s) 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The Title V program requires all new and existing major sources of air emissions to obtain a federally approved, state-administered operating permit. The Title V operating permit includes all applicable requirements from federal and state air emission regulations with which the CPP is required to comply. The Title V operating permit currently held by the AOC is administered through the District of Columbia’s Department of Health, Air Quality Division. In addition, the CPP has a continuous emissions monitoring system in place, requiring quarterly certification by the AOC and annual certification by an independent third-party testing firm. The AOC must submit quarterly emissions monitoring certification reports to the District of Columbia and semi- annual and annual Title V compliance certification reports to the Director of EPA Region III. In the last several years, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P .L. 109-58), the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (P .L. 110-140), and the Green the Capitol Initiative (Beard, 2007) have directly impacted the requirements for energy efficiency for the CPP and its environmental footprint. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires federal agencies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions for new and existing buildings by 2030. That act also specifically requires the AOC to take such steps as necessary to operate the steam boilers and the chillers of the CPP in the most energy-efficient manner possible to minimize carbon 8
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6 emissions and operating costs. The Green the Capitol Initiative (Beard, 2007) is intended to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the operation of the House of Representatives’ buildings, to provide an environmentally responsible and healthy indoor environment, and to serve as a showcase for sustainability. The initiative calls for the House of Representatives to operate in a carbon-neutral manner (defined as producing no net contribution to greenhouse gas emissions) by December 2008.7 T o improve and advance the operations and long-term viability of the CPP and the utility distribution system, and to develop a long-term strategic plan, the AOC contracted for an assessment of district energy technologies. The consultants were asked to (1) analyze current operations at the CPP; (2) propose options for the future delivery of utility services to the U.S. Capitol Complex; (3) compare the viability, energy efficiency, emissions, operational costs, and capital costs of each option against current operations (base case) and 10 other options; and (4) develop short-term recommendations to increase the efficiency of the CPP , reduce its operational costs, and reduce its environmental impact. The AOC contracted for a second study to analyze the long-term use of the existing tunnels and nine options for the future layout of the tunnel system. Because both the CPP and its tunnel distribution system are reaching the end of their useful lives, they require significant investments to continue providing reliable and secure utilities to the U.S. Capitol Complex for the foreseeable future. With the mounting public concern for improved energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced dependence on imported oil, the renewal of the CPP and its distribution network present a significant opportunity to showcase energy efficient technologies and lead the nation by example. STATEMENT OF TASK In 2008, the AOC requested that the NRC appoint an ad hoc committee to (1) evaluate a set of publicly available, consultant-generated options for the delivery of utility services to the U.S. Capitol Complex and (2) recommend how the Capitol Power Plant can be best positioned to meet the future strategic and energy efficiency requirements of the U.S. Capitol Complex. The nine members of the committee have worked in government, industry, and academia. Their combined expertise includes the design, operation, and renovation of district energy systems; utility master planning; alternative/advanced energy systems; sustainable design; engineering; plant construction; tunneling methods and technologies; risk analysis; and environmental and economic analysis of energy systems (Appendix A contains biosketches of the committee). THE COMMITTEE’S APPROACH The committee held its first meeting on December 4 and 5, 2008, in Washington, D.C. At that meeting, AOC staff and its consultants presented information about the operations of the CPP, the 10 consultant-generated options for steam and chilled water delivery, and options for the layout of the tunnel distribution system. After touring the CPP , the committee provided verbal comments. The AOC and its consultants used the committee’s comments to expand the range of aspects to consider, narrow down the number of options, and provide new information about the 6 Additional legislation has been proposed that could impose additional requirements regarding greenhouse gas emissions. 7 A letter from the Chief Administrative Officer dated December 2008 states that the goal was reached and that the House reduced its carbon footprint by 74 percent (Beard, 2008). 9
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carbon and hazardous air pollutant emissions aspects of the options. The committee held its second meeting on March 12 and 13, 2009. To aid in its evaluation, the committee invited additional experts to participate in a 1-day workshop focused on the revised set of consultant-generated options, including an analysis of carbon and hazardous air pollutant emissions for each CPP option. (Appendix B contains biosketches of the participants invited, and Appendix C includes the meeting dates and agendas.) The committee’s report is based on the AOC’s and consultants’ presentations at the two committee meetings, including the workshop; the report entitled trategic Long Term Energy S Plan 70% Report (hereinafter referred to as the 70% Report) (AOC, 2009) covering the background information and the CPP and tunnel options; and a brief oral presentation of the 8 utility service distribution options. No additional studies were available to the committee.The committee’s report also benefits from the discussions at the workshop and the committee members’ own expertise. Finally, the report was peer-reviewed in accord with NRC procedures. The 70% Report is an interim report that is still subject to revisions. It includes the background information on the existing CPP and its operations and presents 17 options for the CPP and its tunnel distribution system. The options analyzed for the CPP included the existing configuration with three options for fuel mix; combined heat and power (co-generation); construction of a new plant; and the use of a range of technologies, including fuel cells, coal 9 gasification, heat recovery chillers, waste-to-energy, and high temperature water. The committee’s findings and recommendations are presented in Chapters 2 and 3. Chapter 2 responds to the charge to the committee to “evaluate publicly available, consultant- generated options for the delivery of utility services to the U.S. Capitol Complex.” It addresses the options presented to the committee in terms of (a) the strengths identified; (b) the shortcomings identified; and (c) the additional work that the committee recommends for the completion of the final or 100 percentStrategic Long Term Energy Plan. Chapter 3 responds to the more global charge of “recommend[ing] how the Capitol Power Plant can be best positioned to meet the future strategic and energy efficiency requirements of the U.S. Capitol Complex.” To that effect, it presents the committee’s recommendations for work that could be undertaken to correct and update the key energy infrastructure of the U.S. Capitol Complex, seizing the opportunity for setting an example for the entire country in energy reliability, efficiency, cost effectiveness, security, and for environmental stewardship. 8 Although the committee also received copies of the “Capitol Complex Master Plan, Sustainability Framework Plan,” there was insufficient time available to review or discuss it in the meetings. 9 Committee members expressed an interest in informally reviewing the final report. 10