HUNTSVILLE, Alabama-- Two resource efficiency managers tasked with oversight and project management assistance on energy savings projects at a vital Army installation in Germany didn’t let a global pandemic get in the way of saving the installation money.
Contracted through the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville’s Resource Efficiency Manager program subject-matter experts enhance installation energy program effectiveness by identifying projects and practices to reduce energy and water costs.
John Trudell, REM program manager, said REMs provide vital expertise to develop site energy plans encompassing projects that achieve sustainable, renewable, secure and resilient energy management.
“REMs are the ‘energy boots on the ground’ assisting energy managers to increase energy awareness and collecting data for reporting site energy management,” Trudell said.
However, 18 months after their pre-pandemic arrival, the REMs, hired by the Directorate of Public Works at U.S. Army Garrison - Ansbach, Federal Republic of Germany, have made a difference by providing the recommendations required to save money and provide resource resilience for the garrison, supporting more than 6,000 Soldiers, civilians and family members working and living there.
In 2019, Juan Murillo, USAG Ansbach energy manager, contracted Huntsville Center for the services of two on-site resource efficiency managers.
Under Murillo’s supervision, the REMs would support the Operations and Maintenance Division within USAG Ansbach’s DPW as the garrison strives to reach its energy goals.
Roberta Thomas arrived in December 2019 while Salvatore Corcione arrived in January 2020.
Both REMs were ready to tackle the two most important and immediate project needs for Murillo: Energy Savings Performance Contract and the Installation Energy and Water Plan.
Engineering support on these projects was a priority since the projects both addressed key issues for USAG Ansbach: energy savings and recourse resiliency.
The Installation Energy & Water Plan is a centrally-funded project initiated by Murillo. Its primary goal is to assure critical mission sustainment for a minimum of 14 days by identifying energy/water security and resiliency risks, and then developing solutions to mitigate those risks.
Thomas and Corcione were on-site for the initial project kickoff meeting, which was a weeklong workshop at the end of January 2020.
Preparing an IEWP relies heavily on gathering information from garrison personnel and accessing the site. Complicating the plan, however, was that the host nation went into lockdown and USAG Ansbach had implemented its own travel restrictions due to COVID-19 shortly after the project kickoff meeting.
During this time, U.S. and local national employees at the DPW were either teleworking or responding to emergency service calls, while travel between the two nations was impossible for the IEWP contractor’s representatives.
Murillo said despite these restrictions, the IEWP process proceeded, partly in thanks to the REMs’ continued efforts on-site and their ability to support project development.
Thomas and Corcione gathered vital utility information, coordinated virtual workshops and documented review with key stakeholders, and provided the contractor with feedback through the process.
The final IEWP was delivered to the garrison commander on time and without additional costs or delays.
Philip Rush, chief executive officer of The Onyx Group, the contractor for the IEWP, said Thomas and Carcione contributed to the successful completion of the Installation Energy and Water Plan at Ansbach.
“Their assistance in setting up points of contact with the full range of stakeholders when we were there in January (2020), just prior to the lock down, proved to be invaluable as they coordinated our follow up in absence of the second workshop,” Rush said.
“The process was time-consuming for everyone and extended the study delivery time,” he said. “However, the early groundwork coordinated by the REM team, coupled with the continuing support while working remotely, had established relationships which assured we received the input needed by our team.”
When the REMs were brought on-board to assist with ESPC development, the energy services contractor, Energy Engineering & Consulting Services, LLC, had already been selected and was preparing the detailed feasibility study for the first phase of the planned project.
The REMs helped further develop the ESPC by coordinating and participating in contractor walkthroughs, gathering information on site and responding to requests for information and reviewing deliverables submitted by the ESCO.
Last year, upon receipt of the Phase I feasibility study from the ESCO, the REMs conducted a thorough review of the documents and provided their feedback to Murillo.
After careful consideration, it was decided that it was in the best interest of the government for the ESCO to abandon the two-phase approach to the contract and resubmit the study as a single-phase project.
After this decision, the ESCO conducted additional audits to finish developing the remaining Energy Conservation Measurements.
Thomas and Corcione continued to support the efforts and once the changes were completed, the feasibility study was resubmitted.
The original Phase I project consisted of $24 million of infrastructure upgrades with $1.4 million in annual savings, and the revised projects are now estimated at $32 million of infrastructure upgrades with $1.7 million in annual savings.
The ESPC will bring much needed light-emitting diode, or LED lighting upgrades throughout the entire garrison. Along with the lighting upgrades, there will be improvements to increase the efficiency of the garrison’s district heating loop and domestic hot water production. A new photovoltaic system will also be installed, delivering 760kW of solar power to Storck barracks.
One of the REMs other key energy savings responsibilities includes optimizing facility operations to reduce utility consumption. Thomas and Corcione completed energy audits and evaluated facilities and the systems utilizing energy to meet that objective.
An audit and design review of the flight simulator building improved the design from a 100% outside air handler to one that uses an air-side economizer. This design review and audit resulted in an energy savings of $192,990 per year.
In addition to these two important projects, the REM’s had contractual performance work statement tasks to perform.
For the future, the REM’s developed and submitted 12 energy saving projects worth an estimated $11.3 million with an approximate annual savings of $1.6 million and a combined simple payback of about 7 years.
Darryl “Tracy” Bice, senior project developer for Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., the ESPC contractor, said he received excellent feedback and guidance from Thomas and Corcione assisting his team in the development of the ESPC project.
“Robin and Sal’s attention to detail combined with operations experience bring a unique skillset to the development effort. With their assistance, we have been able to develop energy conservation measures which not only save energy but also contribute to sustainability goals defined by the U.S. Army.”
USAG Ansbach is home to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. Other tenants include the 5-4 Air Defense Artillery Battalion Headquarters, the rotational Air Defense Artillery Mission Command Element, and the first rotational Aviation Forces in the U.S. Army Europe area of responsibility.