Federal officials today sang the praises of a new energy-efficiency program at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames. The federally owned N-A-D-C had an energy bill of one-point-six million dollars a year for its 80 buildings. That’s why officials decided to try an energy conservation plan a year ago. Center Director Keith Murray says the plan included building a gas-fired power plant that supplies electricity and steam to the Center’s labs.The project cost six-point-six million dollars and after a year, has yielded 566-thousand dollars in savings. Murray says the Center cut a deal to pay for the conservation project with the dollars saved in utility costs. The lab is the nation’s largest of its kind, and Murray says keeping it running is expensive. Murray says the project makes the N-A-D-C safer, as in the past they faced the problem of losing power if there was a storm. They now have a self-contained electrical system that keeps important systems running. The Director of the Federal Energy Management Program was on hand today to officially recognize the conservation project.Beth Shearer says it’s a showcase project of how federal buildings can be improved to meet national energy efficiency standards. Shearer says the N-A-D-C program is a model for increasing efficiency in other buildings.The project also involved improving the energy efficiency of the lighting and heating and cooling control systems in the N-A-D-C buildings. The plan is expected to generate at least 500-thousand dollars in savings over the next 17 years.