BNSF Railway

At a Glance


Transport and Warehousing

Project Type

Industrial Energy Efficiency




Fort Worth, TX


Santosh Subramaniam made recommendations for areas where BNSF Railway could invest capital in energy efficiency measures for its intermodal facilities.


BNSF Railway, operator of the second-largest freight railroad in North America, is developing a program to identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency at its facilities. To support this effort, BNSF Railway engaged EDF Climate Corps fellow Santosh Subramaniam to conduct ASHRAE Level 1 and Level 2 audits at two of its intermodal facilities in Alliance, TX and Corwith, IL. The audits would serve as the basis for the business case for capital investment in energy-efficiency measures.


First, Subramaniam used available energy billing data to profile energy consumption at the building level and to build a tool for future benchmarking as well as measurement and verification activities. This data was then used in conducting meter mapping and verification activities. By conducting field inspections and analyzing available facility design data, the fellow was also able to conduct lighting, pump and compressor system assessments. He developed business cases for proposed LED lighting retrofits in addition to preventative pump and compressor piping fixes.

Potential Impact

Based on various assumptions, if upfront investments are made, the total potential energy conservation from identified opportunities could be over 4 million kilowatt hours of electricity and could result in annual carbon dioxide emissions reductions of over 2,000 metric tons.  If these results were achieved, potential cost minimization could amount to approximately $400,000 per year, which, in addition to varying electricity rates, includes assumptions for labor and maintenance costs management. Proposed energy efficiency measures from the Alliance, TX and Corwith, IL audits were presented to the AVP of Corporate Real Estate and General Director of Environmental Operations for consideration for future capital planning.  

While the system-wide impact of pump and compressor energy efficiency opportunities needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, high-mast lighting currently comprises approximately 60-70 percent of a typical intermodal facility’s lighting energy consumption. Using data from the Alliance, TX and Corwith, IL audits, Subramaniam developed a Monte-Carlo simulation to estimate potential energy conservation at other intermodal facilities that do not have high mast LED lights. The simulation also produced results to help rank future intermodal sites in terms of energy conservation opportunities, which can help BNSF focus its energy efficiency auditing efforts.

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