By Rita Hess (USAEC Contractor)March 14, 2017
The Virginia Army National Guard (VaARNG) Cultural Resources Management (CRM) program is dedicated to conserving historic resources across state training sites and armories. That often means blending rich history with modern technology.
When Camp Pendleton, an oceanfront installation in Virginia Beach, needed to update facilities and grounds to meet energy initiatives on its 325 acres, it still had the challenge of meeting historic preservation goals and maintaining its status on the National Register of Historic Places. Though seemingly conflicting objectives, the CRM program staff was successful at managing both. An unexpected result was receiving the Secretary of the Army Environmental Award for Cultural Resource Management on a Small Installation, accompanied by a subsequent nomination for a Secretary of Defense Environmental Award.
A particular goal of the effort was to make Camp Pendleton capable of supporting the Virginia Beach military complex in the event of a disaster, which ensures the readiness of not only the VaARNG, but also other area military branches. This required significant coordination between the CRM program and Sustainability staff, as the ultimate goal is to take the installation off grid and slash energy consumption by nearly half. Camp Pendleton is the epicenter of a massive effort to establish energy security and resiliency.
"The Cultural Resources Management program effort at Camp Pendleton clearly demonstrates how fully engaged leadership, coupled with sound environmental practices and innovative approaches, can directly enhance Army readiness," said Mr. Eugene Collins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.
Recently the VaARNG Cultural Resources Manager, with support from the National Guard Bureau, set up a state-wide programmatic agreement with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This has simplified oversight and consultation processes required for the Camp Pendleton endeavor by streamlining Section 106 compliance requirements for many activities--from routine maintenance to rehabilitation--thereby resulting in a dramatic reduction in time and resources.
Upgrading Camp Pendleton's WWII-era buildings, designed in the 1940s to be temporary, proved challenging. Structures needed new high-efficiency HVAC systems and energy-conserving lighting, as well as new insulation, roofs, and windows--but the upgrades needed to preserve the historic aesthetic. Installing a new HVAC system in the Governor's Cottage, for example, meant running ductwork beneath the floors and in the attic, where it was out of sight.
Elsewhere on the installation, original chimney and stovepipe heating systems were replaced, while detached chimney stacks were retained. Roofs were replaced using historically appropriate green asphalt shingles.
Repairs and renovations also had to make sense economically, and some were trickier than others. Divided light, double-hung wood sash windows were costly to replicate, so the VaARNG installed them on buildings facing main roadways but updated others with a budget friendly option closely matching the historic windows. Obtaining SHPO approval of this balanced treatment significantly stretched resources.
Ultimately, the VaARNG relied on energy savings performance contracts to complete $38.4 million in energy, HVAC, and building envelope upgrades at facilities throughout Hampton Roads including Camp Pendleton which are repaid with the cost savings that those investments create. The VaARNG has documented an energy intensity drop of nearly 50 percent per square foot across Camp Pendleton's buildings that received system and building envelope upgrades.
Updates continue to meet the requirements of a modern post, while preserving its past and anticipating its future. This allows the VaARNG to sustain the mission and secure the future.