PENTAGON -- Four years ago, the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DoE) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to work together to enhance national energy security and demonstrate the Federal Government's leadership in transitioning America towards low carbon economy.

Under the framework of the MoU, the U.S. Army has successfully collaborated with the DoE's Advance Manufacturing Office to improve the overall energy efficiency of the Army's industrial base.

The DoE's Advanced Manufacturing Office funds a program for Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) to visit manufacturing plants, conduct energy assessments and develop site-specific recommendations at no cost. The IACs, comprised of teams of engineering professors and students from 24 universities across the country, recently completed energy assessments at three installations operated by the Army Materiel Command (AMC): Joint Systems Manufacturing Center -- Lima, Scranton Army Ammunition Plant and Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.

In return, the Army provided funding for the DoE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory industrial energy team to take the energy conservation measures identified by the IACs and apply best practices and lessons learned to other AMC industrial sites, including Corpus Christi Army Depot, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant, Holston Army Ammunition Plant and Radford Army Ammunition Plant.

Recommended energy conservation measures included lowering compressed air system pressure, optimizing existing steam plant performance, repairing broken steam traps, turning off heat recovery and makeup air units on evenings and weekends, lowering compressed air requirements, and replacing metal halide fixtures with more energy efficient lighting fixtures.

At the AMC industrial sites alone, over $8 million in annual energy cost reductions were identified, or the equivalent to the amount of energy consumed by approximately 14,000 U.S. homes each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator. Timeframes for realizing returns on investment were typically four years or less.

The successful partnership between the Army and DoE is a great example of the potential benefits of interagency agreements. The DoD-DoE MoU will continue to support future interagency projects that will benefit our troops and increase energy efficiencies on military bases worldwide.

Jennifer Morgan (AMC), Dan Howett (DOE), Shawn Herrera and Audrey Barrett (ASA (IE&E)) contributed to this article.