Workers at Anniston Army Depot are using less energy these days.

Ongoing energy conservation projects and a sustainable culture have put the depot on a path to reduce its energy consumption through the use of Ground Coupled Heat Pump systems.

Other eco-friendly projects will substantially reduce the use of water on depot, such as the cooling systems being used now in the Nichols Industrial Area.

It is the policy of the United States that Federal agencies conduct their environmental, transportation, and energy-related activities under the law in support of their respective missions in an environmentally, economically and fiscally sound, integrated, continuously improving, efficient, and sustainable manner.

The Policy of Executive Order 13423 and the Goals for Agencies is to implement this policy by reducing energy consumption 3 percent annually through the end of 2015, or 30 percent by the end of 2015 relative to the baseline of the agency's energy use in fiscal year 2003.

The previous Executive Order required 30 percent reduction in 20 years. E.O. 13423 requires 30 percent in 10 years.

What does the new Order mean'

This means the depot must reduce 30 percent of its energy consumption in half the time.

To achieve this goal ANAD must take aggressive action to begin the process of energy savings. There has been a lot of discussion with engineers and scientists about solar and wind energy at ANAD. Though there is little chance here for technology such as that, Ground Coupled Heat Pump systems are at the top of the list.

Geothermal systems, like the GCHP that the depot has employed, use the earth's energy storage capability to heat and cool buildings. The earth is a huge energy storage device that absorbs 47 percent of the sun's energy in the form of clean, renewable energy.

ANAD is currently working to install its second GCHP system. The first system was designed and installed at the Directorate of Contracting by depot engineer Perry Walters. The electrical consumption at that facility has been reduced by nearly 40 percent.

The second GCHP system is currently under construction at headquarters building. The GCHP will replace the traditional air handler, and drillers are on site now with a series of 250 to 280 wells, which will be placed 150 feet deep on 20-foot-long centers in a grid pattern. This part of the project is expected to be finished by spring. The projected electrical savings at the depot headquarters building is more than 50 percent of current energy consumption.

The initial cost for such a system may cause a designer or the owner to shy away from such a system, but if all the benefits are taken into account it is proven that a GCHP will pay off in the long run.

The depot has plans to explore the use of GCHP in other buildings that may benefit from this type of system.

Not only will ANAD benefit from the energy and dollar savings, but according to the EPA, GCHP systems reduce corresponding emissions more than 40 percent compared to air source heat pumps and by above 70 percent compared to electric resistance heating.

Fiscal Year 2008 Energy Consumption at Anniston Army Depot

Electricity: 148,647 MWh, or $ 9.8 Million
Natural Gas: 546,505 MMBtu, or $ 6.8 Million
Water: 365 million gallons, or $ 295,422