SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Since Island Palm Communities (IPC) development got underway in 2004, it has gained a lot of momentum in the area of energy efficiency.

Committed to helping the Army achieve DOD requirements to have 20 percent of its energy needs met by renewable resources, the IPC partnership is looking forward to exceeding these requirements upon completing its initial development in 2020.

"Since we started our development in 2004, there's been tremendous growth in methods, technologies and business models surrounding energy efficiency," said Pete Sims, regional project director for IPC. "Through a power purchase agreement with Solar City, we're able to maximize rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems on our homes, and along with our solar hot water program, we project nearly 30 percent of IPC's energy needs will be met through renewable resources."

Currently, 12 percent of IPC's energy needs are being met by the 9.85 megawatts of PV installed on homes. When IPC's development is complete, PVs will generate up to 18 megawatts of power, making IPC one of the largest solar-powered communities in the world.

-- New strategies

A new initiative at IPC is the Building Energy Management System (BEMS). Through the innovative application of smart technology, demand management software and sizing right, IPC is modeling a 20 percent reduction in household energy.

"We installed BEMS in 24 homes last year in a pilot project, and early data shows a 10 percent reduction in home energy," said Sims.

BEMS provides residents with real-time energy data, and it can perform an automated analysis that finds energy-wasting equipment in a home. Armed with this information, residents can make informed decisions on how they manage their household consumption and even make changes remotely.

"Our families have welcomed the tools and resources, and they've taken the initiative to manage their energy consumption and demonstrate through the pilot program how easily it can be accomplished," said Sims.

Upon completing the pilot, IPC will put together a schedule to install BEMS throughout its neighborhoods over the next five years.

-- More Online

For more information about IPC's development initiatives, log on to www.islandpalmcommunities.com and click on "About Us."