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Preserving History: Honeywell Helps the National Archives Boost Sustainability While Safeguarding National Treasures


Energy Savings Performance Contracts Help Reduce Annual Operating Costs by Nearly $1 Million and Cut Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 19,990 Metric Tons

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official record keeper of the U.S. federal government and is responsible for the preservation of our country’s priceless historical documents. While NARA’s headquarters are located in Washington D.C., history buffs travel near and far to admire famous documents and national treasures located in their many facilities and regional libraries spanning the nation. 

NARA preserves many noteworthy historical and legal documents including the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. It currently holds approximately 10 million pages of textual records, 25 million still photographs and graphics and 400,000 video and sound recordings. NARA operates libraries and archives in 17 states across the country, encompassing numerous buildings and facilities.

In order to help preserve these often centuries-old documents, NARA facilities must maintain a strict, optimal temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 50 percent relative humidity – a challenging mission with aging infrastructure and equipment and limited funds to invest in improvements. So NARA turned to Honeywell and an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) for help. 

ESPCs, which Honeywell helped pioneer decades ago, enable cash-strapped public organizations such as schools, municipalities and state and federal agencies to undertake the often costly improvements to their facilities to improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs. With ESPCs the improvements are funded through future energy savings, which are guaranteed by Honeywell, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars. 

A key impetus for NARA were two federal directives: the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 and Executive Order 13963, which require all federal agencies to reduce their energy consumption by 2.5 percent per year and water consumption by 2 percent per year through 2025. NARA lacked the necessary budget to implement important facility infrastructure updates aimed at helping reduce energy consumption and improving building comfort in its facilities, which made meeting these new federal directives difficult.

To help NARA address the challenge, Honeywell conducted an in-depth analysis of its facilities and identified opportunities to improve facility lighting and heating, controls and ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure in 12 of its presidential libraries. As a result, Honeywell helped NARA identify key technologies requiring upgrades, including replacing existing lighting fixtures to more energy-efficient LED solutions, upgrading controls and replacing rooftop chillers with modern, more-efficient units. The upgrades were funded through a 16-year, $11.1 million ESPC with energy and water cost savings guaranteed. 

Using an ESPC, NARA is able to reduce its annual operating costs by nearly $1 million, while cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions by 19,990 metric tons, which is equivalent to removing 4,208 cars from the road. Through this project, NARA is able to preserve key documents to the nation’s heritage, while maintaining more energy efficient facilities.