Senator Heinrich Helps Honor Brackish Groundwater Research Facility

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, 505-462-3576

For Release: July 12, 2013

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. _ Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) today joined the Department of Energy to honor the Bureau of Reclamation's Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility with the first ever Better Buildings Federal Award.

The facility was selected by the Department of Energy for the 2012 Better Buildings Federal Award for demonstrating extreme energy savings. The competition challenges federal agencies to achieve the greatest reduction in annual energy intensity, or energy consumed per gross square foot. The Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility reduced its energy intensity by 53.6 percent over a one-year period from September 2011 to September 2012.

"This wasn't just about a contest," said Randy Shaw, manager of the BGNDR facility. "It just so happened a contest came along that matched what we were already doing."

Dr. Timothy Unruh, Federal Energy Management Program Director, presented the award on behalf of the Department of Energy. "It really comes down to individual decisions and individual actions," he said. "It's not the technology. It's the people making the decisions."

In accepting the award, Shaw turned and presented the award to the member of his staff who actually made the changes resulting in the energy savings. Steve Holland was given the challenge when he came on board at the facility in 2011 to reduce energy use by 10 percent. Instead, the changes he implemented resulted in 53 percent savings.

"Steve didn't believe that little phrase you can't do it," Heinrich said. "That phrase is often what holds us back from saving enormous energy resources. This is a story I'm going to carry forward to other places."

Shaw led a presentation and tour of the facility to start the day. Heinrich and Unruh were able to see firsthand some of the technologies currently being tested at the facility, and hear from the organizations who are conducting the tests.

Located on 40 acres of land, the BGNDR facility opened in 2007 and provides clients with six indoor test bays, a laboratory, office space, a 30-seat conference room and outdoor test areas for testing and developing a variety of advanced water technologies. Clients consist of government agencies, universities and private sector companies.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.