By J.E. "Jack" Surash, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army (Energy and Sustainability)November 27, 2017
WASHINGTON - Each year, the Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) recognizes the outstanding achievements of federal employees and agencies in energy and water management.
This year's award recipients are a cross section of the federal service, and their accomplishments illustrate the many ways in which we can improve our management of valuable energy and water resources.
I am pleased to note that the Army was well represented among this year's awardees, taking home eight out of 27 awards--the most of any federal agency. The Army is proud to lead the way in advancing energy resilience, deploying renewable and alternative energy, improving water management and utility infrastructure, and reducing costs.
First, I would like to recognize two award recipients who exhibited one of our core values in the Energy and Sustainability Office: collaboration. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) received one of FEMP's eight Program Awards for 2017.
IMCOM's Energy and Utilities team distinguished itself by holding quarterly teleconferences with energy managers at over 70 Army installations around the world. These conversations became an opportunity to share lessons learned and incorporate feedback, and ultimately led to the development of building energy monitor programs and handbooks. These and other initiatives resulted in over $100 million in avoided costs.
Mr. Paul Wirt of the U.S. Army Reserve received a Career Exceptional Service Award. As the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate's Energy Team Lead, Mr. Wirt promoted a culture of collaboration throughout his 24-year career that led to exceptional performance in energy and water management. He routinely connected his team with experts in the field, developing strategic partnerships and fostering an exchange of information that produced exemplary results. The U.S. Army Reserve reduced its energy consumption by 16 percent from fiscal year 2016, thanks in large part to Mr. Wirt's tireless efforts.
Second, let me acknowledge two award recipients whose accomplishments are particularly impressive in light of the challenges posed by their physical environments. The Fort A.P. Hill Directorate of Public Works significantly reduced energy intensity and fuel oil use in an environment with no industrial or commercial operations, power generation facilities, or large, centralized heating and cooling systems. They did it by combining traditional methods like insulation and high-efficiency windows with proactive building management and conservation awareness across a large inventory of small, stand-alone buildings. Another remarkable awardee was Fort Irwin, which, among other achievements, managed to reduce its fresh water usage in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Fort Irwin reduced water usage by almost 68 million gallons (or about 10 percent) in one year through multiple initiatives, including the innovative tactic of mock-billing housing residents for water.
Another group of Army awardees was honored for the development of distributed energy generation. The Army Fort Knox team reduced power consumption and costs by equipping a microgrid power generation substation with combined heat and power capabilities. The Maui U.S. Army Reserve Center will be the first Army site to fully meet the requirements for Net Zero Energy under the Army's Net Zero Initiative in fiscal year 2017, thanks to initiatives like a building energy monitor program and an enterprise building control system program--initiatives that other agencies would do well to emulate. The Maui Reserve Center also implemented major upgrades to its lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and plumbing systems. These programs have been so successful, they are being adopted across the entire U.S. Army Reserve Command.
The U.S. Army Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base drastically cut maintenance costs and fuel use by replacing diesel light towers with photovoltaic solar light carts that can operate for 72 hours with no sunlight. These solar light carts can be transported by air and contain a weatherproof electrical outlet, quick charger, and USB charging ports that allow troops to charge their handheld and other portable devices. The first 250 of a planned deployment of over 1,900 units will save the Army $6.6 million per year. U.S. Army Garrison, Presidio of Monterrey, California, achieved remarkable energy and water savings through the development of a grid-connected, one-megawatt solar array, as well as a xeriscaping project that converted three acres of turf to drought-resistant landscaping. The garrison also implemented an energy retrofit for their data center that improved the power usage effectiveness factor by 33 percent.
This year's FEMP Energy and Water Management Awards ceremony occurred on the heels of the Army's observance of October Energy Action Month. This year's Energy Action Month theme "Energy Resilience Enables Army Readiness," and the Army's eight FEMP awardees are excellent examples of individual and collective efforts to build energy resilience. Resilience allows the Army to prepare for, and respond quickly to, unforeseen disruptions in access to energy and water--a capability that is more important now than at any time in our country's history.
This year's FEMP award winners contributed directly to the Army's ability to fight and win our nation's wars, and for that I ask you to join me in honoring them.