Fresh off of a streak of awards that has put Fort Knox in an envious position across the U.S. Army, officials at the Directorate of Public Works say they have no plans to slow down.With resilience as their focal point, Energy Program Manager R.J. Dyrdek said the Fort Knox team is positioning itself to take the next few steps necessary for complete and endless energy independence if faced with a disaster.Guided by U.S. Army Regulation 2017-07, the Energy Program has divided its efforts into three strategies: electric, gas and water. Of these, water is a more long-range focus."Right now, we've reduced our water consumption by more than 70% just by fixing the leaks," said Dyrdek. "Do we have a lot of opportunity in water? The only place we could go in water is to improve our gray water collection, but that's deep into the infrastructure of buildings; it's deep into the infrastructure throughout the installation."Dyrdek explained that purple pipes are utilized by installations in locations where water is scarce.Purple pipes refer to the means used to transfer recycled water back into use, through colored pipes that can easily be identified. According to a March 10, 2014 article published at, certain large property owners can take advantage of recycled water in drought-prone areas like Southern California -- owners such as golf courses and cemeteries."In our thoughts, within the 5- to 10-year window, we would never have a purple pipe system in place," said Dyrdek. "Could we have some buildings or some grounds that collect water and we use better for irrigation where you don't need potable water? Yes, we probably could."Dyrdek said that idea is already in their water strategy within long-term goals.Where his team is focusing the most time and effort, as a result, is in making electric and gas energies more efficient and effective. Gas poses a different challenge."Now that we use it to generate electricity, our gas consumption is a very flat curve," said Dyrdek.He explained that normal electric uses throughout a given year form what engineers call a "bathtub" curve."Most people use a whole lot of gas in the winter, very little in the summer, and a whole lot in the fall heading toward the cold season of the winter," said Dyrdek. "Our gas consumption is almost flat because when we're using the large volumes of gas for heating, we don't have that large of an electrical load, so that amount stays even."In the summertime when that gas consumption would normally go down because of the need for air conditioning, that's when we use that natural gas to make electricity."Despite this, Dyrdek said there is one way they can make gas more efficient for the installation."Where our opportunities lie in the next 5-10 years are to figure out a way to buy the gas at its cheapest cost, which is usually in the middle of that bathtub when everybody else doesn't need gas," said Dyrdek. "That means that we have to have a way to store it, and maybe a way to share it. If that's the case, it's a wonderful future for us."Dyrdek said what makes gas storage so appealing is having the ability to eliminate high costs during intermediate and peak hours of energy use."Our electrical load kind of looks like a layered cake," explained Dyrdek. "You have the base load that we use all the time. You have intermediate load that occurs during the course of activity -- probably not at nighttime. Then you have a high or peak load that, in the summertime for instance, occurs from 11 o'clock in the morning till 3 o'clock in the afternoon or when the sun starts getting lower."Right now, we make most of our peak load because it's the most expensive; we make most of our intermediate load during those hours during a day, winter or summer, when it's most needed."With the introduction of natural gas fuel cells into the equation, Dyrdek said they will have the ability to make energy from gas during base loads, which will give Fort Knox complete and virtually limitless energy independence when needed during times of crisis."If we start making electricity with fuel cells, that will take away all of our electrical needs," said Dyrdek.The need to be compliant with the U.S. Army's directive for energy resilience is no longer a concern for the installation, according to Dyrdek, because the Army goal is to remain energy independent for up to 14 straight days. They have already exceeded that goal.Instead, they are looking to shape the future of energy resilience throughout the Department of Defense."The time to try and solve an energy issue is not during an ice storm," said Dyrdek. "It's about staying out in front of it."