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Press Release

Press Release

Virginia Department of Corrections Wins Inaugural Virginia Energy Efficiency Award

December 19, 2016

RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections took top honors in the first ever Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards.  The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) honored winners during a recent reception attended by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

VADOC earned first place in the state government category.  The department executed the first executive branch energy services contract (ESCO) in Virginia.  These are contracts that allow the state to pay energy service companies using the funds saved by the installation of energy-efficient projects.  The VADOC leads Virginia in ESCO volume, and has embraced ESCOs as an integral part of its building renewal program. 

VADOC has tied energy efficiency to its public safety mission by creating an inmate training program in energy sector skills.  VADOC employs a broad portfolio including renewable and alternative energy sources.

“Congratulations to all of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Leadership Awards winners, and thank you for your contributions to the new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe, who presented the State Agency and Government awards.

VADOC has completed four ESCO projects with two more in progress and one in development.  The seven projects total approximately $100 million.  The department also earned the 2013 United States Energy Association’s Leadership Award for the Secretary of Public Safety.

In partnership with Johnson Controls, Inc., the department established the Green Learning Lab at Indian Creek Correctional Center to provide practical training to offenders on mechanical equipment and offer industry certification.  Since its inception, more than 50 offenders have graduated with more than 35 employed upon release from prison.

The department’s use of renewable and alternative energy sources is evident at Augusta Correctional Center where wood waste is used to heat hot water.  St. Brides Correctional Center uses the largest solar thermal system in Virginia to provide hot water.  Building and fixture improvements have saved more than one billion gallons of water since the program began in May 2005.

“The winning entries are proof that energy efficiency has tremendous potential to drive economic growth, create jobs, shrink utility bills, conserve natural resources and reduce pollution.  They reflect the preliminary numbers from our 2016 Clean Energy Census which indicate that building energy efficiency alone accounts for $1.1 billion in annual revenue,” said Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC Executive Director.

VADOC has twice presented its energy innovations at the American Correctional Association national meeting, mentored other state agencies, been acknowledged with the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for water savings, and participated in energy policy discussions with state and national stakeholders. 

“Our long term vision involves being a progressive and proven innovative leader in our profession.  This includes the measures we have taken to be more energy efficient as well as the efforts we have made to train offenders to work in energy related fields,” says VADOC Director Harold Clarke.  “We are honored to receive this award and we will continue to explore methods to enhance our use of renewable and alternative energy sources, acting as a good neighbor in the communities in which we operate.”    

More information on the VADOC can be found at

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