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Stimulus Funds Support VA Energy Conservation Efforts

WASHINGTON, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of a clean-energy transformation, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is targeting nearly one-quarter of its $1.4 billion in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to investments in clean energy generation and energy conservation.

"These investments help spur new energy savings and, at the same time, reduce our environmental footprint," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "The President is leading us in a new direction away from our dependence on foreign oil and the destabilizing effects of a changing climate. Since hospitals use such large amounts of energy, we need to step up our efforts to transition to clean-energy technologies."

VA will direct more than $68 million to renewable sources, including solar, wind and geothermal energy and has dedicated nearly $238 million toward retrofitting existing buildings to use energy and water more efficiently.

Those efforts, planned for 16 states and Puerto Rico, include solar-powered electricity and hot water energy systems at VA hospitals in Arizona, Texas and southern California; geothermal energy in Idaho; and wind turbines in several states.

To use energy and water more efficiently, facilities are replacing or upgrading windows and roofs; upgrading lighting to more efficient types; automating lighting controls and energy management systems; installing low-flow faucets and toilets and other water-conserving equipment; installing variable-volume air handling units; and enhancing boiler control systems and tune-ups.

"These measures, identified through regularly scheduled energy audits, facility condition assessments, and ongoing monitoring by energy engineers and other staff, are important steps in 'greening' VA," Shinseki added. "In conjunction with the investments in clean energy generation and other green projects that VA is making through its Department-level Green Management Program, these retrofits are key steps in reducing VA's environmental footprint."

Overall, the Administration has targeted more than $60 billion in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to clean-energy investments.

The Department of Veterans Affairs health care system operates more than 1,400 sites of care. More than 5.5 million people received care in VA health care facilities in 2008.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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