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Energy Sustainment

SWF Energy Initiatives Brings Savings to Customers

by Jim Frisinger,
Fort Worth District Public Affairs

The federal push for energy efficiency is widespread, affecting the buildings in which we work and live, transportation, and the equipment our society uses every day.

This has opened an entrepreneurial opportunity for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to meet the challenges facing all federal agencies – requirements to improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and generate energy independence.

The Fort Worth District is working with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security to meet these new goals. The district’s sustainable energy projects are diverse and include: replacing 4,000 aging motors in barracks air-conditioning units at Fort Hood; utilizing a waste treatment plant and bio-mass system to produce electric power and thermal energy at Fort Polk; and providing energy analysis at Border Patrol Stations.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in support of the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, will perform Sustainable Infrastructure Assessments for Air Force installations worldwide. This newly established program is led by the Infrastructure Assessment Branch within the Fort Worth District’s Engineering and Construction Support Office. The work will be accomplished by the respective geographic districts/regions within the Corps of Engineers and will be executed primarily through the use of Architect-Engineer firms. The assessment will analyze facilities’ energy to include Energy Audit Level II, High Performance Sustainable Building and Real Property Installed Equipment.

Greg Scheurich, the Fort Worth District’s sustainability program manager, said the surveys of AFCESA facilities are expected to begin in December and are considered to be a very significant effort. About 112 million square feet will be surveyed for Energy Audit Level II and HPSB and 235 million square feet for Real Property Installed Equipment.

Scheurich said most energy sustainability work does not include renewable power generating facilities: the towering wind farms or vast arrays of solar panels. The financial paybacks are likely to come from initiatives on the energy conservation side of the ledger. Savings can add up: $100,000 energy savings each year for 10 years is $1 million in savings.

"It’s mostly finding out what we can do to lower energy costs in a building and still support the mission," he said. This can also be achieved by merging the functionality of buildings or working out less conflicting schedules. For instance, if 10 buildings are 90 percent occupied, there is significant energy consumption savings by reducing the footprint to nine buildings that are 100 percent occupied.

"It’s not exotic, but the first thing we do in an energy program is minimize energy consumption by intelligently using the customer’s funds" he said.

The two-year Sustainable Infrastructure Assessment will provide the Air Force with budgetary, operations and maintenance, and investment plans that should yield a positive return on future capital investments.

Consistent program performance is critical to AFCESA. The USACE Enterprise strategy is to conduct the assessments systematically across district boundaries and deliver a standard, accurate and quality product to our customer. USACE is fortunate to have the opportunity to perform these services to enable the Air Force to use the data collected to support decision making, financial management and reporting requirements on future capital investments. The AFCESA Program follows the successful launch of the Infrastructure Assessment Branch work for the Defense Logistics Agency – a five-year assessment of the agency’s global footprint.

The DLA Program utilizes USACE’s capabilities across all regions, in addition to personnel within the IAB. The DLA effort involves significant support from the USACE Real Estate Community of Practice, Environmental Community of Practice and engineers from all regions who perform facility conditions assessments that are loaded into the BUILDER software tool. BUILDER is a Sustainment Management System created by the USACE Engineering Research and Development Center that provides a tool for DLA to effectively and efficiently manage their facility repair and maintenance funding.

The federal government has the largest building inventory in the world – occupying nearly 500,000 buildings worldwide. USACE is building a team nationwide to support our customers in the future for energy, water and space utilization endeavors. Our nationwide team will use these opportunities to enhance our expertise in the area of sustainable infrastructure assessments.

Our economic climate requires USACE to maximize sustainability, restoration and modernization project funding, said Bob Vineski, the Fort Worth District’s regional energy manager.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Fort Worth District will continue to be "solutioneers" for our customers, particularly in the areas of energy, sustainability and facility/asset management. Through our USACE efforts, we are making a difference for the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and our nation.

Changing our environment with CRAFT

Federal agencies in Fort Worth, Texas are using innovative energy solutions like these solar energy collection panels, which was once part of the Fort Worth Federal Center, a 75-acre parcel of land with four large warehouses totaling more than 1 million square-feet. (Photo by Clayton Church, Fort Worth District)Federal agencies in Fort Worth, Texas are using innovative energy solutions like these solar energy collection panels, which was once part of the Fort Worth Federal Center, a 75-acre parcel of land with four large warehouses totaling more than 1 million square-feet. (Photo by Clayton Church, Fort Worth District)

by Denisha Braxton,
Fort Worth District Public Affairs

In support of efforts to implement energy reduction measures at 25 lakes the Fort Worth District has been tracking energy such as electricity, natural gas, fuel oils and water consumption since 2008.

This tracking effort was in response to several Executive Orders dating back to the Clinton Administration for a long-term plan to require the federal government to reduce energy, greenhouse gas emissions and water use by developing baseline data for setting and tracking sustainability goals, and annual reporting of results to the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget. Initially the Army Corps of Engineers had no data source readily available to support these requirements.

"To help with the many requirements of this executive order, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters contacted William Goran, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Sustainability Innovations. Goran put together a team that helped in writing the initial sustainability plan, developing input for the benchmarks, progress reporting, and characterizing the Corps of Engineers energy use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions," said Dr. Richard Detsch, Analyst, Engineer Research and Development Center’s Laboratory.

For fiscal year 2014, Grapevine, Lewisville, and Ray Roberts Lakes submitted budget packages totaling $28,800 to purchase and install LED light fixtures for the dam and outlet structure control towers which will produce a total estimated annual savings of $9,000. Currently the Corps has a special emphasis in performing a comprehensive data cleanup for fiscal years 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012. Once this is complete, a new baseline will be established with a target timeline of early September 2012.

In order to provide energy and cost effective solutions the ERDC team has developed the Federal Energy Management Program tool which is an enterprise reporting solution that each agency could provide input for tracking data. Expanding on the use of the FEMP tool created the need for a real-time reporting database to support their sustainability goals. Through this visualization the team created the Corps of Engineers Reduced and Abridged FEMP Tool. The CRAFT team at the Fort Worth District as well 350 Corps’ employees are responsible for this tool to input energy, fuel and water usage data for data analysis and performing data quality control.

From its inception, the CRAFT has integrated leading-edge technologies, innovative design, and a customer-focused approach to provide direct and timely support to both Headquarters and District staff directly responsible for maintaining the sustainability initiative. Each district lake office plays a major part in the reduction process where a designated person enters the monthly electric and water bills into the CRAFT. At every district level there is also an Environmental Compliance Coordinator who tracks energy usage and cost estimates to generate data with the CRAFT database to implement reduction goals and improvements.

"Once a month, I check to be sure the data is current and if not send a reminder to the designated person at each lake office. This accountability is very similar to a performance measure in that monthly data must be entered as soon as possible to keep the data current," said Chris Byrd, Fort Worth District Natural Resources Manager and CRAFT POC.

Supporting the sustainability initiative, the Fort Worth team diligently works on finding the most effective solutions to reduce day-to-day operating costs and then implementing change to serve the Army and Nation. The CRAFT tool allows the District to accurately track energy and water costs and compare those costs with similar facilities around the country.

"One of the Corps’ primary civil missions is to manage the nation's waterways and wetlands. By effectively tracking and managing our energy use at the lake level, we can contribute to the overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Byrd added.