As part of the Oregon Army National Guard's (ORARNG) ongoing facility replacements and renovations, the Oregon Military Department (OMD) is adding photovoltaic (PV), or solar, systems to its installations.
The Roseburg Readiness Center, a 20,000-square-foot facility in Roseburg, Oregon, is the first structure to add the PV panels to become an electric net zero facility. The facility is home to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, part of Oregon's 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
"This is among several installations in Oregon that have been renovated under the Armory Service Life-Extension Program (ASLEP)," said Col. Kenneth Safe, Construction and Facilities Management Officer. "This electric net zero facility is a significant achievement for the Army Net Zero Energy program. Oregon is the only National Guard that is part of the Army's Net Zero Energy pilot program."
The building received multi-faceted improvements before the solar panels were added.
"The remodel project brought the building up to current seismic and building codes, remodeled spaces and finished in the facility to better meet the needs of the tenants," said Mark Williams, project manager with OMD. "The new roof, replaced as part of the seismic upgrade, was intentionally designed for the follow-on PV system, as well."
Future renovations, such as the Dallas Readiness Center, in Dallas, Oregon, will also include sufficient solar panels to make the facility electric net zero.
"In almost all remodel cases, solar installs will be a part of a larger component," said Roy Swafford, Director of Installations for OMD.
"The Energy Trust of Oregon collaborated with OMD and SOLARC Engineering and Energy+Architectural Consulting, to make sure we had the right sizing, and the elements of work built to design," said Safe. "We made changes that were more cost effective with the advice received from Energy Trust."
The energy efficient goal of the renovations of Oregon Guard installations is to minimize energy consumption to the point where the building could be retrofitted with a photovoltaic system and achieve Net Zero Energy status. Net Zero is balancing energy production with energy use through net metering: the amount used is equal to the amount produced.
"Net metering is an agreement with the utility company," said Eric Manus, construction project manager. "The surplus goes into the system and tabulates what it is asking for and what it is using."
The progression of change in energy usage went from using natural gas to electricity to the PV system. The PV panels are a part of the larger projects to help meet and exceed the State Energy Efficient Design (SEED) requirements. In the case of Roseburg, the PV array allowed OMD to significantly exceed the minimum SEED requirements as stated in the final analysis.
"SEED requires all state facilities to exceed the energy performance of the Oregon State building code by at least 20 percent," said Williams.
The OMD's energy efficiency goal was not only to significantly exceed the minimum SEED requirements. The entire building is subjected to an extensive energy-driven remodel effort on the building envelope, lighting, the HVAC system and domestic hot water heating system.
"This project achieved an astounding 70 percent energy savings while simultaneously greatly improving the conditioned space throughout the building," said Safe.
"Oregon state law requires that public entities spend 1.5% of public building construction costs on green energy technology, such as solar," according to a report by Williams.
The project was funded through the National Guard Bureau's energy modernization funds. Energy Trust of Oregon also provided incentive funds for using energy efficient measures.
Inverters are stationed on an outside wall to change the solar energy into electricity.
"Inverters take the (DC) energy from the panels and change it to the (AC) usable side of the grid," said Manus. The record-breaking 98% efficiency allows more energy production for an improved return on investment. These inverters also have sophisticated, digital control technology to achieve superior solar power harvesting that optimizes the performance of each PV module.
A SolarEdge display panel monitors the amount of solar energy produced.
"An overview of the system's performance, current power, and energy production are shown on the monitor," said Robert Johnson, a supervising electrician for Sunlight Solar. "It also shows the environmental benefits, displays the weather for three days, and can be remotely accessed."
Besides energy efficiency, the overall appearance of the renovation and PV panels is aesthetically appealing and functional.
"The renovation is awesome," said Sgt 1st. Class Frank Rademacher, readiness noncommissioned officer with C Co., 1-186th Infantry Battalion. "Everyone enjoys it; it is useful and environmentally friendly."
Other emergency preparedness upgrades include a potable well, a generator, storm water management, changes in the parking area, and adding a loop road to be used as a staging area for emergency equipment and supplies.
"Net Zero is a component of the overall concept of the organization," said Swafford. "We are also considering wind and wave energy for future options."