By John B. Snyder, Watervliet ArsenalJanuary 3, 2018
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. -- The Watervliet Arsenal has agreed to a $14.2 million contract with energy provider National Grid that will make the Army manufacturer of cannons and mortars so energy efficient that the savings will pay for the enhancements over a 16-year period.
"The contract will replace some of the heaviest consumers of energy on the Arsenal," said Scott Evertsen, the Arsenal's energy manager. "Some of the major work will be very visible, such as replacing inefficient fluorescent and vapor lighting that currently illuminates hundreds of thousands of square feet of manufacturing space with light-emitting diode or LED lighting. While other work, such as updating manual controls on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with state-of-the-art computerized controls, may not be as obvious to the workforce."
With financial assistance from National Grid in 2014, the Arsenal had an energy feasibility study conducted, Evertsen said. This study concluded that the Arsenal had several high energy consumption areas that could provide significant savings.
"Thanks to National Grid's feasibility study, we received direction as to where we could achieve significant savings to the Arsenal's more than $3 million annual energy bill," Evertsen said. "We then funded a larger, investment grade study that provided better resolution to the National Grid effort."
Evertsen said that he could not predict the annual cost savings from the improvements, because 75 percent of the Arsenal's energy use is directly tied to production. In essence, in production years when there is a heavy workload, the Arsenal can expect to have significantly larger power bills.
But, given the many years of an inconsistent, unpredictable defense budgets due to the Congressional Budget Control Act of 2011, it has been very hard for the Arsenal staff to predict future energy costs.
Nevertheless, Evertsen said that the $14.2 million contract will be paid for from the savings the improvements will achieve. There will be no up-front costs or any additional annual costs associated with the contract.
Without this non-traditional contract with National Grid, the Arsenal could not upgrade its aging energy infrastructure, said Dave Roe, the Arsenal's chief of public works.
"The bottom line is that the Arsenal could not afford the upgrades without applying the energy savings to the cost of the contract," Roe said. "The other added benefit of the contract is that it actively supports the Army's Energy Security vision of providing safe, environmentally compliant and cost-effective energy services to Soldiers, Families, and to Civilians."
Work should begin in the next few months and will take approximately 16 months to complete.
This investment is another example of the Army's recent efforts to increase the Watervliet Arsenal's capacity to support the rising readiness needs of Soldiers, but do so efficiently. Earlier this year, the Arsenal announced that the Army is investing nearly $42 million to upgrade its manufacturing operations.
The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army-owned-and-operated manufacturing facility located in Watervliet, New York. The Arsenal is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States, having begun operations during the War of 1812. The Arsenal is a subordinate command to the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command.