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Majorly Awesome Military Energy Savers: We Salute You

November 11, 2015 - 12:09pm


A historic hangar at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio was salvaged and restored with window films to reduce solar heat gain, occupancy sensors to control interior lighting, and daylight sensors to maximize energy savings and enhance productivity.

A historic hangar at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio was salvaged and restored with window films to reduce solar heat gain, occupancy sensors to control interior lighting, and daylight sensors to maximize energy savings and enhance productivity.

Today, we'd like to honor service men and women for their dedication not only to the defense of our mighty country, but also to the efficiency of the oft-unsung electron. 

You may have heard some staggering statistics about how the Department of Defense (DoD) uses energy. A lot of it. As the nation's single largest energy consumer, DoD accounts for more than 1 percent of the nation's total electricity use. 

But with this great power (use), comes great (energy-saving) responsibility. 

DoD is committed to reducing its energy intensity through a variety of low- and no-cost efficiency measures. Solutions ranging from behavioral changes to insulation improvements have allowed DoD's energy use to reach a 38-year low, according to the Energy Information Administration. 

With the low-hanging fruit harvested, DoD is now challenged to find new opportunities to save energy and money despite budget cuts. Fortunately, our military always rises to the occasion.

"We're past cutting fat and now we're cutting muscle,” said John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment. 

Here are some salute-worthy examples of how the military is becoming a lean, mean, energy-saving machine.

Advanced Meter Installation 

The Pentagon was designed in 1941 with one type of efficiency in mind. Despite having 17.5 miles of corridors, occupants can get from any one point in the building to another in seven minutes or less. However, energy efficiency was not originally a priority for one of the largest office buildings in the world.

Fast forward to today. Recommissioning activities have allowed DoD headquarters to achieve an 11% reduction in energy use intensity between fiscal year 2010 and 2014. Among other efforts to reduce electricity consumption, Washington Headquarters Services has installed more than 100 advanced meters and sub-meters to capture information about electricity, steam, chilled water, natural gas, hot water, and potable water use for individual buildings on the Pentagon Reservation. 

We salute the Pentagon for being a leader in next-generation energy management activities.

Building Envelope Enhancement 

A team of architects and engineers from Wright-Patterson’s 88 Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Division successfully salvaged and renovated an underused, historic, 53,000 ft2 hangar built in 1934. An improved thermal envelope with spray foam insulation, stringent HVAC requirements, high-efficiency glazing, reduced exterior lighting, and occupancy sensors are projected to reduce energy use by about 30% at the facility, saving more than $141,000 per year. 

We salute Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for walking the talk when it comes to reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Energy Awareness Campaign

The Naval Air Station Oceana successfully cut its energy use intensity by a whopping 52% in 2013. This Virginia Beach–based base launched concrete projects, such as equipment performance upgrades, ground-source heat pump installations, and lighting upgrades. Its innovative energy program also created the concept of distributed energy teams to encourage a natural, friendly, competitive environment that instills energy conscious behaviors. 

We salute the Naval Air Station Oceana Energy Program for promoting command involvement in self-sustaining green behavior. 

Electrical Load Reduction 

The energy team at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton achieved a 44% reduction in energy consumption, reaching the energy goal mandated by Executive Order 13123 six years early. Despite a 2 million square-foot increase in facility space, Camp Pendleton achieved its objective ahead of schedule by reducing its electrical load by introducing daylighting technology, retrofitting high-intensity light fixtures, and successfully implementing an energy savings performance plan.  

We salute California's Camp Pendleton for proving that goals can be met now, even if set for later. 

Microgrid Development

The Army's first microgrid, which was installed at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 2013, continues to serve as a model for energy security and reliability. By incorporating renewable solar energy, storage capability, and demand management, this system is able to provide power without interruption even in situations when the local grid experiences an outage.

We salute Fort Bliss for demonstrating the potential for solar power to save the day, and night as well.

A Salute for Sore Arms

There are too many more majorly awesome military energy savers for us to salute in one blog post. Our hypothetical arms can't even begin to compute the electronic muscle needed to pay respect to all of these projects.

Knowing that one day is not enough, we say a heartfelt "thank you" this Veterans Day to the American service men and women who inspire us to be better people, patriots, and protectors of our great nation.

Related Resources:
Department of Defense Annual Energy Management Report Fiscal Year 2014
Department of Defense Operational Energy Strategy: Implementation Plan
Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) case studies