Combined Heat & Power, Architect of the Capitol
Washington, D.C.
Award of Merit 

Owner: Architect of the Capitol
General Contractor, Lead Design Firm & Structural, Civil & MEP Engineer: Burns & McDonnell

Located inside the century-old Capitol Power Plant, the combined heat and power project’s most important contributors to safety were the workers themselves, according to the project team.  

The team says that a volunteer observation program empowered employees at all levels to relay concerns about their peers’ habits and working conditions. Findings were recorded anonymously to help identify project safety trends, address specific concerns and minimize potential risks through proactive action. 

The project involved updating aging boilers and grid-purchased power with a state-of-the-art cogeneration system that serves essential congressional facilities and the U.S. Supreme Court building. Designed for resilience, operational efficiency and reduced emissions, the system can be easily adapted to meet more stringent environmental standards in the future, the project team says.

Because asbestos, lead paint and other hazards were present within a limited work area, the team says it deployed multiple shifts that were scheduled to alleviate site overcrowding. A lockout-tagout program prevented incidents with energized systems, the team says, and daily operational staff meetings kept team members informed about the locations of specific activities, including scheduling localized outages to facilitate system tie-ins. No lost-time injuries or reportable incidents were recorded during the more than 180,000 hours required to integrate the new system successfully.

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