By Randy CephusJuly 3, 2014
TEXARKANA, Texas - While the administrative staff at a Marine Corps Reserve training center in Texarkana, Texas, went about its normal business on a bright, clear morning in May, civilians in reflective vests could be seen scurrying like bees in and around the training facility during a May 28 energy audit.
The Forth Worth District, Corps of Engineers office for Energy Audits and Assessments heads the team charged with auditing and assessing the training facility.
According to Chelsey Click, energy project coordinator, the Marine Corps team consists of members from the Fort Worth and Buffalo District, along with a representative from a private architect and engineering firm. "We have a mechanical, electrical and civil engineer along with an architect," she said.
The D.A. Carson Marine Corps Training Center, named in honor of the Navy Cross winner for his extraordinary heroism and great personal valor during action at Iwo Jima, has an interesting history. It was originally built as a local Texarkana elementary school until 1985 when it was transferred to the Marines.
The campus was quickly altered to suit the needs of the Marines by transforming classrooms to administrative offices, the gymnasium into the company assembly area and the playground into a motor pool, complete with maintenance facility and wash rack.
This arrangement has suited the needs of the Marines for many years but as the military has become more energy conscience, these dated structures must go through yet another transformation to meet current energy standards.
"We are using thermal cameras to monitor the amount of air that is escaping from doors and windows," said Buffalo District civil engineer, Katie Mitchell. "We will input the readings as part of our data collection effort."
Like bees buzzing around from flower to flower collecting nectar, the team spent the day moving from room to room, gathering data. In keeping with the bees as they return to the hive to download the collected nectar, the team would come to the makeshift operation center to download collected data into a computer.
"We also look at the type of lighting to see if they are using current technology as well as look for equipment such as outdated air conditioning units, boilers," said Click.
According to Mitchell, the data will be input to a model based on floor plans and measurements taken of the structure during the building audit. Later, the model will show a schematic of where and how much energy is escaping.
The team will also develop graphs depicting trends such as high and low energy use over the course of an extended period of time. This is similar to what one receives with a statement from a private energy provider at a home residence.
"We want to provide a thorough assessment with viable recommendations so the customer can act on it and achieves real savings, said Click. "Then we will know that we have provided a valuable service."