Union Pacific Receives Energy Innovators Award from U.S. Department of Energy

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific Center, the downtown Omaha headquarters of North America’s largest railroad, was recognized for the technological innovations that have made it one of the nation’s most energy-efficient buildings. U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman visited the railroad’s headquarters to present Union Pacific an Energy Innovators Award.

“The Department of Energy commends Union Pacific for making energy efficiency a priority, and for using innovative and cost-effective approaches to implement energy-saving changes,” Secretary Bodman said. “Industry initiatives to advance the President’s goal of meeting new energy challenges with cutting-edge technologies will prove increasingly important and effective as the need for energy continues to grow worldwide. While developing new means of meeting our energy demand is crucial to economic growth and energy security, so too are taking measures to increase energy efficiency — they make good sense and are good for the corporate bottom line.”

The Department of Energy created the Energy Innovators Award to recognize businesses, individuals, and governmental agencies who have successfully developed or deployed energy efficiency and/or renewable energy technologies, services, or policies.
“It’s an honor to receive this award from Secretary Bodman, and we appreciate Congressman Lee Terry’s role in bringing this distinguished guest to our building and to Omaha,” said Jim Young, Chairman and CEO of Union Pacific. “Conserving energy is critical to every American and this goal was at the top of our list when developing this great new facility. And, through great partners like the Omaha Public Power District, we were able to accomplish that goal.”

Energy-saving features were a major part of the construction plan for Union Pacific Center, which opened in 2004. The 19-story building includes an atrium allowing in natural light, an under-floor cooling system providing comfort-conditioning for employees and power for business operation needs, and a computerized energy-management system.

For optimal efficiency, the building is equipped with an air-handling system that has variable speed fans and direct digital controls for computerized management of mechanical equipment and lighting. Instead of drawing in a standard amount of outside air, the ventilation system automatically adjusts fresh air for the number of people in the building. In addition, a hydraulic economizer is used in the cooling tower for optimal energy savings.

Earlier this year, Union Pacific Center was recognized with an Energy Star® from the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA’s Energy Star program began in 1992 as a voluntary labeling program to identify and promote energy-efficient products. Computers and monitors were the first products to carry the Energy Star blue star logo. In 1999 the Energy Star label for buildings was created to promote strategic energy management and environmental responsibility.

Union Pacific worked with OPPD to validate Union Pacific Center’s energy performance and satisfy requirements for the ENERGY STAR designation.

“As Union Pacific’s electricity provider, we felt it was important to work very closely with them in developing this facility,” said Gary Gates, chief executive officer and president of OPPD. “We think it successfully incorporates many of the latest technologies in energy efficiency and still manages to create a comfortable environment for the company’s employees. It is our hope that we can build on the momentum created by this project and, by continuing to work with our other customers, both commercial and residential, to help them emulate that success in becoming more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.”

In addition to the technologies and features built into Union Pacific Center, the railroad is actively testing and deploying energy conservation techniques across its operating system that are helping move more freight with less fuel and fewer emissions.

— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire