VA Sierra Pacific Network (VISN 21)
VISN21 Applied Technology Energy Research Program (VATER)
The purpose of VATER is to apply emerging, next-generation, high-impact technologies in order to meet VA's mandated energy, security and sustainability goals.
In 2021, it's time to shine a light on the vital role that critical healthcare, energy, cyber and physical infrastructure plays in keeping the Nation and our communities safe, secure, and prosperous. Together, we are promoting Energy Resilience & Critical Infrastructure Security in a Time of Transformation.
Today, there are 170 VA Medical Centers and 1,255 VA sites of care across the nation.VA's infrastructure is dedicated to serving our 18 million American Veteran population, or about 7 percent of the adult population in 2018. VA Healthcare Engineers are responsible for maintaining over 152 million square feet of VHA-owned infrastructure with an average building age of over 55 years. There are a total of 5,632 VHA-owned buildings, of which 2088 are designated as historic buildings. Leased facilities comprise an additional 20 million net usable square feet. The latest facility condition assessment (FCA) placed the cost to eliminate the failing/nearly failing infrastructure deficiencies at over $19.4 billion. The VHA Energy Engineers Advisory Board are trained to look at problems or systems and create new or improved ways of making those systems work. The 101 total VHA Energy Engineering Workforce faces an enormous responsibility; they must effectively mitigate these complex challenges in order to support and enable the delivery of exceptional health care to our Veterans.
The VATER program concept is similar to the original Navy Techval and its predecessor, GSA Green Proving Ground Program, which evaluates emerging and next-generation building technologies in real-world operational settings, recommending the most promising for deployment within the Agency’s real estate portfolio. These technologies will focus on health care environments and high performance buildings. By discovering best-of-breed innovative technologies early in their development and placing them strategically within federal properties, this program helps ensure VA’ s leadership position within state-of-the-art health care and medical facilities. It also supports our proactive, personalized, comprehensive whole health care and contributes to VA’s sound investment decisions, which greatly benefits the American taxpayer.
The VATER program will collaborate and develop key public and private partnerships, which include Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Laboratories and Federally Funded Research & Development Centers, non-profits, and other partners to assist in technology deployments. These long-term partnerships will supply specialized know-how, tools, best practices, analyses, and the introduction of next generation (energy) applied technologies to advance joint initiatives benefiting both sectors.
Some examples of ongoing collaborations include:
- DOE National Laboratories
- Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-e)
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Oakridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
- Sandia National Lab
- Better Buildings 50001 Ready Cohort Partners
- Better Buildings Waste Reduction Pilot
- Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator
- Better Buildings Integrated Lighting Campaign
- Better Buildings Envelope Campaign
- DOE FEMP Technical Resilience Navigator
- DOE CESER
- DOE Technology Campaigns
The VATER Program will evaluate emerging technologies and utilize technology roadmaps to ensure our facility infrastructure and campuses match our state-of-the-art healthcare as well as healthcare education and health care research programs. These technology deployments will be implemented through multiple mechanisms, including the Utility Energy Saving Contract and Energy Savings Performance Contracts, along with other avenues, which may include grants from Federal and State agencies.