By Shannon L. RussNovember 3, 2015
On the heels of Army Energy Action Month, the Army Study Program Management Office (ASPMO) is highlighting the second year of energy studies funded by the ASPMO at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Energy has emerged as a priority for Senior Leaders, in fact the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Army to consume 25 percent of electricity requirements from renewable sources, by 2025. The Army's Energy Security and Sustainability (ES2) Strategy, finalized in May 2015, identifies strategies that Soldiers, Civilians and Family Members can take to make the Army more resilient for any mission.
Then Under Secretary of the Army, Brad R. Carson, and Army Vice Chief of Staff, GEN Daniel B. Allyn, emphasized the priority in a letter to Senior Leaders: "This strategy represents a turning point. The Army is evolving from a historic framework that viewed resource considerations as constraints on operational effectiveness - to a perspective that considers the critical role of energy, water, and land resources as mission enablers. Such an integrated perspective requires balanced decisions to achieve the greatest military benefit while keeping faith with civilian communities."
According to Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, "Energy security underwrites our unique ability to rapidly deploy, employ and sustain military forces around the globe. It's for that reason the Army is moving toward building resilience into our installations." There is no question that energy is at the forefront of Senior Leader priorities.
In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, the Army Study Program's top ranked study was "Energy Reduction in Residential Buildings on Installations". The study proposal competed with approximately 90 other proposals, and was ranked by Study Coordinators from all of the major commands at the annual Army Scoring Conference, in mid-summer. The study was both sponsored and performed by the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.
The study considered the residential housing at West Point, allowing analysts to develop a systematic approach to find the most economic energy upgrades, resulting in the greatest return on investment for installation residential managers. By reviewing heating and cooling systems, windows, lighting systems and insulation the study predicted a cost savings of approximately $600,000 to West Point, citing the 20-30% energy reduction historically experienced by residential building upgrades. These savings, once the construction costs were paid for, could then be applied to West Point to fund other residential building projects.
The outcomes of the study save the Army considerable monetary resources. Results included updating the West Point system that charges non-military organizations for their actual energy usage. This resulted in $1 million dollars saved last year and is expected to save an additional $1 million dollars every year. Study performers assisted West Point's housing office in finding the most cost effective energy upgrade for their historical buildings. This resulted savings of $150,000 per year with a three year payback period.
Other successes of the FY15 study include an improvement to the Army's current residential utility billing program that resulted in a much more fair and equitable system for military residents by comparing the energy lifestyles of residents and eliminating the differences in energy efficiency between houses with the same floor plan. Without these upgrades to the billing program, West Point's housing office would not have been able to start this program and save an estimated $500,000 on energy this year. The success has been so great that the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management has requested that analysts continue this research on improving the residential utility billing program this year on two additional military installations.
In FY 16, the USMA again competed for funding, this year to study "Energy Reduction in Military Government Buildings through Benchmarking, Peak Shaving, and Incentives". The study ranked second, out of 70 proposals, reflecting the high priority that energy plays among not only senior leadership, but military and civilian members of the force. According to data provided in the USMA study proposals for both FY15 and FY16, residential and commercial building operations (excluding industrial or manufacturing) are responsible for consuming 40% of all energy (71% of electricity and 54% of natural gas) used in the U.S. Both studies used West Point as a case study.
The FY16 study focuses on military government buildings. The purpose of this study is to reduce energy consumption of military government buildings by creating a systematic process of implementing a smart building for peak load reduction, the implementation of an incentive program, and an improved benchmarking methodology. Historically these upgrades performed by the Army have resulted in an approximately 20% savings, which would be a $3.2 million annual savings for West Point. Both studies support the Army Campaign Plan and energy-saving goals and objectives set forth by Army Senior Leaders.
These studies are great examples of how the U.S. Army benefits greatly by investing in studies through the Army Study Program Management Office. Consider, if two projects in two years can save West Point several million dollars, imagine if these updates are applied to Army installations everywhere. The potential savings are too large to measure.
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