Solar panels recently added to the roof of the Price Fitness Center on the Presidio of Monterey. (Photo Credit: US Army photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. — October is Energy Action Month, and while the month is coming to a close, conserving water and electricity is a year-round effort. The Army’s Energy and Water Management Program has the aim of ensuring the availability, quality and security of energy and water without degrading the environment, mission readiness, or the well-being of service members.

“The environment affects everything we do – the Army mission, global warming, being comfortable at work,” said Richard Thorne, Energy Manager for the Presidio of Monterey. “By reducing energy usage, the world as a whole is a better place.”

Several projects are currently in progress to improve energy and water resiliency on post, but also reduce operating costs. The largest ongoing energy project is an LED lighting retrofit of fifty buildings that is expected to save $320,000 annually. A separate update of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls at the Ord Military Community PX will improve the comfort of that space and save another $8,000 annually in energy costs.

Thorne said they plan to add “…over 50 electrical meters to the Army Metering Data Management System that allows monitoring of 50 buildings’ energy usage and tracking.”

These new meters will allow the Energy and Utilities Branch of the Department of Public Works to monitor power utilization in real-time and seek ways of lowering inefficiencies and overall cost.

One recent improvement in water conservation has already substantially altered the amount of water used on the installation. After replacing an old, malfunctioning irrigation controller at Soldier Field, roughly 8,000 gallons of water have been saved per day, 6 days a week. Monitoring and replacing old or malfunctioning equipment like this has a big impact.

These types of improvements are commonplace for the Energy and Utilities Branch. A few months ago their office was informed that the lights around the post flag pole were always on during daylight hours. With one change to the timing controls, the command will save hundreds of dollars each year.

Thorne is happy to say that water and electric utilization and associated costs are on a downward trend, “[The Presidio of Monterey is] going in the right direction. However, there is so much more to be done.”

While many of the actions taken by the Energy and Utilities Branch are large-scale solutions, every bit helps. They offered a few simple things we all can do to save electricity and water. Consider turning off lights when not in use and think about whether you really need the lights on or could open the curtains or blinds instead. Another recommendation is to turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.

“A typical faucet provides about 2 gallons every minute. Brushing your teeth takes about 1 minute, that’s 2 gallons a day or 730 gallons in a year!” said Thorne.

Upcoming items on the Presidio of Monterey energy agenda include replacing older florescent lights, air handler units that don’t operate efficiently, and pumps that operate 24/7 unnecessarily as well as adding new energy efficient lighting for parking lots and new solar panels for Price Fitness Center.

As stated in the opening quotes of a message from the Department of Army dated 20 Aug 2020, “The Army is the largest consumer of electricity in the federal government, spending more than $1 Billion annually on installation energy. Installations support the full spectrum of Army missions, from industrial bases to training, mobilizing and deploying soldiers – installations are increasingly connected to the fight and require reliable access to energy and water. The Army is aggressively focused on installation energy resilience and efficiency initiatives.”