By Michael Beaton, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMarch 20, 2014
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh announced the Army's top achievers in energy and water conservation recently, recognizing the Presidio of Monterey in the small group Energy Efficiency and Energy Management category.
The Presidio of Monterey captured the prestigious award through the combined efforts of POM Directorate of Public Works Energy Management professionals Jay Tulley and Brian Clark together with the Presidio Municipal Services Agency Maintenance Team.
Conserving energy is one of the Army's and, therefore the Presidio of Monterey's, top priorities.
On behalf of the Presidio, Tulley and Clark competed worldwide for the award by improving efficiency, instituting renewable technologies and promoting energy awareness at the Presidio of Monterey and at Ord Military Community.
Just as important as cost savings and proper environmental stewardship, the awards recognize how the U.S. Army is working to ensure Soldiers have the resources they need to accomplish their missions: the land, water, air and energy resources needed to train, test and field systems; and, a healthy environment in which to live.
Award winners are recognized for their exceptional ingenuity, hard work and success in improving the Army's energy future by improving an installation's use of resources in order to save costs.
Besides the Energy Efficiency and Energy Management categories, installations can also compete for awards in categories such as Innovation and New Technology, Renewable Energy, Alternative Financing, Water Conservation, Program Effectiveness, and Individual Achievement. In order to be fair and applicable, each award is divided into subcategories depending on the size of the community.
FROM RESEARCHING BLUEPRINTS TO CHECKING THERMOSTATS
The Presidio received the 2013 Superior Program Award in the small group category for achievements in Energy Efficiency and Energy Management by Tulley and Clark's use of a model approach to energy conservation and reorganization.
Both Tulley and Clark, who have backgrounds in engineering and had recently completed an extensive advanced study and workshop in Existing Building Commissioning at the Pacific Energy Center in San Francisco, were keen to apply and adapt what they had recently studied to buildings on the Presidio, choosing the Presidio's new four-story state-of-the-art Arabic studies building, the 80,000 square foot Khalil Hall, completed in 2012.
"We chose Khalil Hall because we knew we could find savings immediately by applying the concepts of re-commissioning and retro-commissioning, which we learned in San Francisco," said Tulley. "Even though it's a new building we had observed after its first 24 months of operation that it was not performing as it should have."
Re-commissioning is an engineer's term used when looking in-depth at a building's design and energy use. It includes everything from studying the structural blueprints to how the thermostats, outside air sensors and light switches are used; it's a very meticulous and technically complex approach to energy conservation.
"Often it's as simple as understanding how a room is used inside the building to determine how to correctly allocate heat and light," said Tulley.
In the end the energy appraisal and re-commissioning model that Tulley and Clark developed and applied on the Presidio was both transparent and easy to sustain. It generated practical solutions on how to intelligently restructure the building's energy without changing or altering how the faculty and students use it.
"It's an evolving model because we are always looking for new data, then checking to see how we can brings the building's energy consumption even lower. Then we'll take that same kind of data and apply it to other Presidio structures. With this award we're just getting rolling," said Tulley.
"Our goal is to increase occupancy comfort when we do our energy projects. The primary goal is to support the mission, and that means making sure the classroom environment supports learning." said Tulley. "I was a student here as well and know how it is to sit in a classroom all day learning a language. Good ventilation and lighting [are] essential. We feel that we can actually improve these conditions and still save energy."
When asked for a typical example of the kind of usable, money-saving data they had come across by applying their retro-commissioning model, Clark was quick to reply. "First, we knew from the cost accounting history that the building was not using its energy management systems correctly."
"Right off the bat, we quickly discovered that many of the energy saving and regulatory controls the building was designed with were not even being used; that contractors had set many of the building's light, heat and water controls haphazardly -- or not at all -- upon installation during construction," said Clark.
"That was a surprise to us, and didn't cost a penny to change because all we had to do was adjust the building's controls properly to start saving big money immediately," Clark laughed and added that "we had to get real smart real fast about programming software systems to remedy that -- everything is digital now, it's not like you're turning wheels connected to steam pipes -- to get things controlled and functioning as they should be."
"Correcting energy waste or abuses is only part of our re-commissioning strategy," said Tulley. "What we are really about is focusing on and maximizing our energy use, getting the most for every energy dollar the Presidio spends."
According to Tulley, continually crunching the buildings numbers and watching for patterns in the data showed them unseen problem-areas in the building's energy use that could be quickly, easily and cost effectively corrected without students or faculty noticing any changes at all.
"Now we want to take what we've learned at Khalil and begin applying our concept to more Presidio and [Ord Military Community] buildings, particularly the on-post barracks, where we already have some great cost- and energy-saving programs … underway," said Tulley. "We're ready to get in there and start more building projects."
To learn more about the people and facilities of the Presidio of Monterey visit the official garrison website at www.monterey.army.mil.