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To the Stars and Back

TVA supports the latest U.S. space mission by keeping NASA’s energy costs down to earth while sustainability efforts take flight.

At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, nearly everyone’s focus is zeroed in on getting the latest spacecraft—the Artemis I—safely to the moon.

Man will again walk on the moon by 2025, NASA has pledged. This time the moon landing is a stepping stone to putting boots on the ground on Mars and providing a foundation for enhanced deep-space exploration.

For NASA engineers and administrators, there are a million little worries involved with getting a new mega-rocket like the Artemis I off the ground. All systems must go—and the weather must be favorable.

What rocket scientists don’t have to stress about is out-of-this-world electricity bills or service interruptions amid all this turbulence. That’s where TVA is helping with this newest mission to the stars.

“Here at NASA we try to both meet and exceed federal efficiency and carbon reduction goals,” explained Rhonda Truitt, energy and water conservation manager for the Marshall Space Flight Center. “Every little bit of money we save through efficiency becomes funding that we can use to go back into space with. And that is really cool.”

NASA facility in Huntsville

Marshall Space Flight Center, which is located on the U.S. Army’s massive Redstone Arsenal installation southwest of Huntsville, is one of TVA’s directly served customers. This arrangement helps ensure the power supply is ample and consistent and that all 160 buildings associated with NASA at Redstone are running at optimal efficiency. 

“Ours are very technical facilities, and many are state-of-the-art,” said John Green, master planner at Marshall Space Flight Center. “We require power that is clean, sustainable and very reliable, which TVA can provide.”

According to Jeff Brown, who oversees the facilities management office, there’s much to consider in assessing NASA’s indoor spaces.

“What we don’t want to have is a building where scientific processes or experiments are happening and the temperature goes out of range,” he said. “That can affect the science. We want the temperature, the lighting and the humidity to be the last thing on scientists’ minds.”

TVA’s Federal Energy Services Program team has worked hand-in-hand with its federal partner to help ensure this consistency.

“We audited approximately 4 million square feet of NASA’s building space,” said Tim Campbell, a TVA senior program manager who oversees energy efficiency programs on behalf of federal customers. “We looked at opportunities to improve, including lighting, air conditioning, building envelopes and water reduction among other things. Our expertise helps them achieve their goals for consistency, carbon reduction and executive order compliance.”

NASA Marshall Center

Moreover, TVA and NASA have an interagency agreement that allows NASA to take advantage of some creative financing.

“We participate in a TVA program called the Utility Energy Savings Contract,” Truitt said. “That allows us to invest in energy-saving equipment and pay for the project over time with the energy savings that it generates.”

Doug Perry, TVA’s senior vice president of Commercial Energy Solutions, is proud to partner with the space agency.

“Hopefully our programs save NASA precious dollars, help them build better rockets and computers, and hire the best people so they can get us to the moon and to Mars without worrying about, ‘What was my power bill today?’ or ‘Oh, no, my HVAC system just broke!’ or ‘When are we going to get better lighting?’

“That’s what we’re here for” he added, “and the entire team is very focused and very excited to be a small part of the Artemis I project.”

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While federal customers of all sizes, from military installations to county courthouses, can take advantage of TVA’s Federal Energy Services Program, you don’t have to be a huge operation to work with TVA to lower your energy bills. The TVA EnergyRight for Business & Industry program works with enterprises of all sizes to help them reduce their carbon footprint and meet energy savings goals.

TVA is proud to support Redstone Arsenal, with its 7,000+ employees—a major player in the regional economy. Our Economic Development incentive programs are available to all companies looking to locate or expand in the Tennessee Valley.

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TVA & NASA: Stellar Support