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.