Contain to sustain: Energy security program moving forward
October 1, 2010
- New Electronic and Mechanical Control System is taking command of the energy one kilowatt at a time.
- The EMCS is a special force and a first line of defense in Energy Security on Fort Campbell.
- 90 percent of the buildings on post have been retrofitted and are under EMCA, and the number is growing.
- When a building is emptied at the end of a work day or work week, EMCS can control the lighting and the temperatures remotely.
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Techs might call it a super-computer. Engineers might call it a super-network. Either way, it's impressive and is taking command of the energy here on Fort Campbell, one kilowatt at a time.
It's called the Electronic and Mechanical Control System, or EMCS.
The EMCS is a special force and a first line of defense in Energy Security on Fort Campbell - an edict handed down to all Army CONUS installations by Installation Management Command Commander Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch.
"After retrofitting 90 percent of the buildings on post, we now have roughly one-third of those buildings under the watch of the EMCS and that number is growing," said Dewayne Smith, resource energy manager and John Register, garrison energy manager.
Even with the impressive results by the EMCS thus far, there is a bit of an irony to the fact that it is housed in a relatively small building and has command and control of the energy for some of the most influential buildings on post.
"Right now we have just under 350 buildings tied into the EMCS, which equals about 6 million square feet of building space of the available 15 million square feet on post," said Smith.
The EMCS, monitored by control mechanics, who work as a team under Smith and Register, sends minute-to-minute status reports on the energy health and welfare of all buildings within its network.
"If a particular building happens to send out an alarm, our control mechanics can give the repair immediate attention," said Smith. "In the past, we had to rely on building occupants to inform us of a problem. If the problem was undetectable to the human eye, it was often left unrepaired at an innumerable cost of energy to Fort Campbell."
"Another aspect of energy controls the EMCS gives us is the ability to perform night setback procedures," added Smith. "When a building is emptied at the end of a work day or work week, we are able to control the lighting and the temperatures from right here in this room. We are even able to do deployment setbacks, in some cases, until a unit returns, especially if the building is totally empty."
Smith and Register both echoed that setbacks are of utmost importance as some employees leave the office in a hurry to get to Family duties at home and sometimes unwittingly leave on lights and other office equipment.
Smith and Register agree that the EMCS is a super computer network and is beginning to effectively manage Fort Campbell's energy program, but even it needs a little boost from time to time.
That boost comes from two demand-limiting generators, which would serve the role of the energy cavalry.
"The two generators are demand-limiting generators that sit just a few blocks away from the EMCS building," said Smith
The generators are massive, something akin to two Kansas City Southern tank cars seemingly stuffed with turbine-type engines, fans and exhaust systems.
"We need these demand-limiting generators to help us shave down peak energy usage and keep us in compliance," said Smith, adding that the generators are generally used on extremely hot or cold days or in a time of emergency.
The generators are tied into the EMCS main-frame and can be remotely cranked, monitored, increased or decreased in power and shut down once their mission is accomplished.
In the same fashion as buildings within the EMCS network, control mechanics can also detect when the generators need to be serviced or can pinpoint a repair problem right before their eyes and fingertips.
Smith and Register are proud of the energy security accomplished by the EMCS and the two demand-limiting generators thus far, but are emphatic when they speak of the "final cog" in the wheel of containment before sustainment and that is installation residents and employees doing their part, everyday of the week, every week of the year.