U.S. Army senior leaders meet for a group photo to hand off a check for the Resilient Energy Funding for Readiness and Modernization at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 24, 2020.  (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zachery Perkins)
U.S. Army senior leaders meet for a group photo to hand off a check for the Resilient Energy Funding for Readiness and Modernization at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 24, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zachery Perkins) (Photo Credit: Spc. Zachery Perkins) VIEW ORIGINAL

Physical, natural and cyber threats jeopardize our installations. The fenceline is now the frontline and we must remain vigilant in protecting our assets while improving the Army’s energy capabilities. The Army is focusing and evolving its energy efforts to be more resilient, efficient and affordable based on the strategic goals of its new Army Installation Energy and Water Strategic Plan published this fall. As a result, the Army implemented a new initiative in response to Congressional Authority, Title 10 U.S.C. § 2912, Availability and Use of Energy Cost Savings, which allows the services to capture funds for their energy savings at installations.

The Army is calling this initiative the Resilient Energy Funding for Readiness and Modernization, or REFoRM, and it has already garnered roughly $35.5 million in energy savings in its fiscal year 2020 pilot execution year. REFoRM provides the mechanism to give back to Army installations from all three components – Regular Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard – for their outstanding energy conservation efforts.

The Congressional Authority allows the Army to transfer validated energy cost savings, which the Army bases on reduced energy consumption, generated at Army installations into “no-year” accounts. The savings are then shared 50-50 between those installations that generated the savings and the Army Enterprise. Installations from all three Army components can use funds for improvements to existing military housing; any unspecified minor construction project that will enhance the quality of life of personnel; or any morale, welfare or recreation facility or service. The Army Enterprise funds will go toward supporting energy resilience projects across the Army. The specific process and procedures for the receipt and use of the funds is forthcoming.

This effort is an excellent example of collaboration with the Air Force and among multiple offices within the Army. The Army Office of Energy Initiatives has implemented the REFoRM initiative based on lessons learned from the Air Force’s successful pilot effort completed in FY 2019 in addition to extensive coordination with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Financial Management and Comptroller, which was instrumental in establishing the REFoRM FY 2020 pilot.

The Army’s REFoRM initiative incentivizes installations to continue promoting smart behaviors. We believe REFoRM is a way to reward installations who reduce energy consumption. Through REFoRM, those installations will be given the consumption savings back to improve the Army’s quality of life priorities for our people.

How energy cost savings are calculated

The Army Office of Energy Initiatives calculated energy cost savings for the REFoRM initiative based on the validated energy saved at individual installations as documented in the annual energy consumption data. The Army then calculated energy cost savings for each installation with savings by multiplying the reduction in consumption by a blended cost of energy for each installation.

In the FY 2020 pilot, the Army calculated energy cost savings for Regular Army, Army Reserve and Army Guard using data collected from 145 installations, 59 of which were determined to have eligible savings. The analysis enabled the Army to retain $35.5 million in validated, installation related, energy cost savings from expired FY 2015 Operation and Maintenance and FY 2014 Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation appropriations eligible for transfer to REFoRM accounts.

The Army expects to garner even greater energy cost savings for FY 2021, given the focus on improving energy efficiency across all installations.

We are confident that once the Army’s senior commanders, garrison commanders, command sergeant majors and the entire chain of command realize they will receive 50 cents for every $1 of energy cost saved, that we will see great energy consumption reductions without negatively impacting quality of life considerations.

ARMY REFoRM: Driving energy conservation, increasing energy resilience

REFoRM is a true win-win solution for the Army. By monetizing the value of energy conservation, installation communities will be able to see the benefits of changing behaviors. REFoRM will help the Army by advancing energy conservation efforts and furthering its strategic goals to achieve energy resilience, efficiency, and affordability – while also improving the morale and well-being of the hundreds of dedicated Army installations working in our service across the country.