Fort Bragg calculates high risk, high reward of renewable energy
April 1, 2011
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - How does a neglected sector of Fort Bragg become one of its leading visionaries, with the power to improve Army life for decades to come' The answer is simple according to Fort Bragg's energy manager, Jennifer McKenzie. "Part of the challenge was learning to speak the same language," noted McKenzie, who highlighted the five-year journey that has put her energy program in the national spotlight.
McKenzie addressed fellow engineers during the Society of American Military Engineers luncheon, March 16, at Stryker Golf Course. She shared the three driving forces behind an energy program like this - industrial standards, laws and contractors. Once overshadowed by Fort Bragg environmental programs, McKenzie and her staff of six banded together to adopt a holistic approach to energy usage on Fort Bragg.
"Our mission is to make life better for the Soldiers," said McKenzie, who's taken a team approach to implementing and improving energy programs. "Ninety five percent of our effort is focused on energy efficiency," noted McKenzie. Utility monitoring control systems (like meter data) help locate the installation's biggest energy users, which then become the focus of cost dropdowns. Technologies like solar domestic hot water, thermal energy storage, photovoltaic systems and geothermal systems for heating and cooling will help Fort Bragg reach its Net Zero goal.
A Net Zero stamp of approval means that the yearly environmental impact is balanced out (we renew the resources we use).
McKenzie's speech highlighted opportunities for SAME members to share her energetic vision, including a potential development of 3,000 acres for renewable energy. The Bragg-Pope-Fayetteville chapter of SAME draws engineers and architects who are interested in serving Airman and Soldiers, said Rob Harris, post secretary and a Department of Public Works civilian engineer.
Over 400 individual members and 60 sustaining members (corporate memberships) represent nearly every faction of the public-private sector, including combat engineers, the Army Corps of Engineers and local engineering firms.
"We serve Soldiers by providing the very best level of service," said Harris.