By Andrew Burr
Through the Better Communities Alliance, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO) recently partnered with Hatch, a global consulting firm with business and technical experience in the energy and infrastructure sectors, to explore innovative and replicable energy solutions at seaports. One of the Port Authorities with which Hatch worked was the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ), North America’s third-busiest port by container volume and a national leader on sustainability.
According to the American Association of Port Authorities, seaport cargo activity generates more than $4.5 trillion in economic activity and supports more than 23 million American jobs, including more than 10 million jobs added over the past decade. Seaports are also large consumers of energy, particularly as they become more automated. As a result, many port operators are prioritizing energy efficiency to reduce their environmental impacts and their operating costs.
To begin the seaport assessment, PANYNJ identified four administrative office facilities – three in New Jersey and one in New York – to analyze energy improvement opportunities. Hatch then met with PANYNJ’s environmental team to focus the scope of work and conducted site visits and interviews with the facility managers to learn more about each structure, including details such as total energy consumption and expenditures, physical deficiencies, and building operations profiles.
According to both Hatch and PANYNJ, the facility assessments revealed several energy improvement opportunities. The assessments included mapping energy meters to utility accounts to analyze exactly where and why energy is being consumed, and installing solar panels on planned infrastructure (such as a planned carport overtop an office parking lot) to enable onsite energy generation.
PANYNJ is integrating the opportunities into a five-year strategic plan to improve sustainability through 2023, and anticipates conducting follow-on work.