Weather, consumption play part in saving energy
June 6, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 5, 2013) -- Fort Benning's energy consumption was 27 percent lower during FY 13 compared to FY 12, said Mark Fincher, energy manager for Fort Benning.
This energy saving increase is due to three factors: Weather, building energy monitors and an ongoing energy contest on post.
"It's all about being somewhat thrifty," he said. "And as long as we can provide the heating and the air conditioning and people are in a comfortable environment, why shouldn't we try to save?"
Saving energy is important because of the tighter budget, Fincher said. Lowering energy consumption saves money for the installation. Currently, Fort Benning's utility costs are more than $40 million a year.
"If you can go in and trim $1 million of that off of your utility bill … that's a million dollars that we have to spend somewhere else," he said.
The weather played a large role in the amount of energy savings, Fincher said.
Weather during cool and warm seasons impact the amount of energy used. Because of the pleasant weather experienced during FY 13 compared to FY 12, there was less energy consumption because there was less need for heating and cooling systems.
Units and directorates on Fort Benning are competing to see who can save the most amount of energy, Fincher said. The energy savings competition spanned more than 700 buildings, which made up more than 11.2 million square feet. There are three categories: Large units, or those with more than 500,000 square feet of electrically metered space, small units with less than 500,000 square feet of electrically metered space and the directorates.
Participating facilities saved about $400,000 over the course of the first seven quarters of the competition, Fincher said.
Small and large units that saved the most energy during a quarter won $3,000 for their unit's funds, with the money coming from the Qualified Recycle Program funds, Fincher said.
"The units and directorates quarterly electrical consumption performance in FY 13 was measured against the facility's FY 12 quarterly baseline consumption," he said. "This normalized most differences between building efficiencies due to construction, age, fuel use and other factors."
Fincher estimated that Fort Benning could save more than $250,000 a year through the contest, which lasts until FY 15.
Building Energy Monitors
Building energy monitors are assigned to buildings and trained to look out for infiltration, open doors, air conditioning and heating and reporting any problems with a work order, Robert Chaplin, resource efficiency manager for DPW, said.
"They are the ears and eyes associated with energy conservation," he said, adding that with so many buildings, the monitors make it easier to track energy consumption and issues. Currently, there are 350 BEMs on post.
Reporting issues helps catch energy inefficiencies that may be occurring in more than one building and gives them the opportunity to create a project to help solve a problem.
Energy that is escaping, he said, means that the air conditioner and heating systems will work even harder using more energy.
But besides concentrating on energy savings, the BEM also worked to create a good working environment for people with having adequate lighting, cooling and heating, Chaplin said, which affects productivity.
For more on saving energy, air conditioning and heating issues and reporting any problems, contact your unit building energy monitor.