MIDDLETOWN, Iowa (Feb. 14, 2013) -- Iowa Army Ammunition Plant is undertaking a two-phase installation of geothermal and photovoltaic systems at its administration building to help meet the Army Energy Security's mission to "make energy a consideration for all Army activities to reduce demand, increase efficiency, seek alternative sources, and create a culture of energy accountability while sustaining or enhancing operational capabilities."

To this end, Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, or IAAAP, is undertaking a two-phase installation of geothermal and photovoltaic systems at its administration building.

"Through this project, IAAAP is helping the Army gain ground in the Net Zero Energy campaign," said Dennis R. Lacy II, energy execution project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who provided specialized support on the project. A Net Zero Energy Installation is an installation that produces as much energy on site as it uses, over the course of a year.

One of the new systems at IAAAP uses geothermal energy resources. Geothermal energy refers to the heat from the Earth. It is clean and sustainable and exists, literally, right under our feet.

The other renewable resource harnessed at IAAAP is the sun's energy. A photovoltaic system was installed and uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity.

Both of these systems will allow IAAAP to heat and cool its administration building via renewable energy sources.

"The completion of this project starts IAAAP on its first step of energy conservation using green technologies," said Leon Baxter, chief of the Operations Support Division at IAAAP.

IAAAP received funding for this project through the American Recovery Act's stimulus program. Congress awarded $1.46 million to convert the administration building's cooling system to a more energy-efficient system.

The first phase of the project is complete.

Already installed, the geothermal system incorporates a vertical closed, ground loop system. Vertical loops are used where the soil is too shallow for trenching, and minimize the disturbance to existing landscaping.

In a vertical system, holes, approximately four inches in diameter, are drilled about 20 feet apart and 100 to 400 feet deep. Two pipes are inserted into these holes and are connected at the bottom with a U-bend to form a loop. The vertical loops are connected with horizontal pipe, or manifold, placed in trenches and connected to the heat pump in the building.

IAAAP's vertical system required 117 holes, or wells, which initially were intended to be drilled to 185 feet deep, but ended up at 182 feet deep due to a hard layer of earth at that depth.

Currently, the geothermal system is being used to cool the admin building.

The photovoltaic system is now creating electricity for the building and future projects may expand further use of the technology.

"The second phase of the project will be complete within the next year and a half," said Linda Wobbe, environmental protection specialist with IAAAP. "The current steam-heat system will be removed to make way for geothermal heating of the building."

The new system will pay for itself and, over its lifespan, actually will save IAAAP in energy expenses.

IAAAP used regional and local companies to design and install these new, energy-efficient systems and considered the project a win-win for the installation, the local economy and the Army's energy accountability mission.

Part of Joint Munitions Command, Iowa Army Ammunition Plant produces and delivers high-quality, large caliber munitions to U.S. Joint Forces.

From its headquarters at the Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., JMC operates a nationwide network of conventional ammunition manufacturing plants and storage depots, and provides on-site ammunition experts to U.S. combat units wherever they are stationed or deployed. JMC's customers are U.S. forces of all military services, other U.S. government agencies and allied nations.

Page last updated Thu February 14th, 2013 at 00:00