News: DoD grant aids US Army Corps of Engineers push to cut installation energy bills
Story by James Frisinger
FORT WORTH, Texas – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, has received a $1.22 million grant from the Department of Defense to develop a new analytic tool to help cut energy consumption at military installations worldwide.
The grant, awarded Dec. 31, is from the DOD’s Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. ESTCP helps identify and demonstrate promising technology then helps transfer it into daily use. The grant was made in competition against some of the nation’s premier national energy labs and included a formal presentation in Washington, D.C.
The two-year grant will support a collaborative effort led by the district’s Planning Support Center within the Regional Planning and Environmental Center, said Dr. Rumanda Young, chief of the district’s Master Planning Section. Other program partners include the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center-Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Ill.; and two military installations where the technology will be deployed – Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
“This is the first time a division has partnered with USACE labs to obtain this type of DOD research and demonstration grant funding,” said Young, who is also the Southwestern Division energy development manager. “This is an important step in bringing all sustainability, energy reduction and planning mandates into one comprehensive and useable tool.”
DOD facilities spent $4.1 billion on energy in Fiscal Year 2011. The Pentagon is the nation’s largest single tenant in the country, managing 300,000 buildings with 2.2 billion square feet of space. At the end of the program, the district will present its findings and the DOD will determine its future use, said Young. The program supports the USACE goal of helping the Army and the nation achieve energy security and sustainability goals – reducing energy dependence, increasing energy efficiency, and adopting renewable and alternative energy sources.
With the grant, the team will integrate the capabilities of two existing analytic tools to more quickly, effectively and routinely evaluate ways to cut the Pentagon’s energy bill at each installation, said Young.
One tool is the Comprehensive Army Master Planning Solution Dashboard, which includes facility inventory and meter data. The other is the Net Zero Planner, which provides energy use life-cycle analysis and forecasting. CAMPS lacks the scenario planning and energy use projection capability of the Net Zero Planner. However, the Net Zero Planner requires significant and costly data collection of building inventory and meter data at the beginning of a study.
By combining the two tools with up-to-date master planning practices, energy planning can deliver understandable results more quickly and at lower cost than the tools used individually. The team will integrate the unified tool into the daily workflow. Automated meter data collection data will feed the analytic tool, which will require less expertise to calibrate energy models. Each installation can then flag facilities that show excessive energy use and easily identify appropriate measures needed to trim energy costs.
Young is the CAMPS lead for the project. Dr. Michael P. Case is the Net Zero Planner lead. He is ERDC-CERL’s installations program manager.