Fort Campbell earns top Army award for excellence in energy savings

By Ethan Steinquest, Fort Campbell CourierDecember 7, 2021

Robert Ott, energy manager, Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works, left, Jarrod Heath, a resource efficiency manager contracted through DPW, and Mir Khan, energy projects engineer, DPW, discuss energy conservation projects in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), footprint from DPW’s building operation command center. The installation was recognized with a Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Energy and Water Resilience Program Effectiveness Oct. 29 during a virtual ceremony hosted for efforts during fiscal year 2020, including those projects.
Robert Ott, energy manager, Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works, left, Jarrod Heath, a resource efficiency manager contracted through DPW, and Mir Khan, energy projects engineer, DPW, discuss energy conservation projects in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), footprint from DPW’s building operation command center. The installation was recognized with a Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Energy and Water Resilience Program Effectiveness Oct. 29 during a virtual ceremony hosted for efforts during fiscal year 2020, including those projects. (Photo Credit: Ethan Steinquest) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fort Campbell was among three installations recognized with a Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Energy and Water Resilience Program Effectiveness Oct. 29 during a virtual ceremony.

According to the award packet, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Campbell achieved annual utility bill savings of more than $1.2 million in fiscal year 2020, renegotiated a firm gas transportation agreement after operating for nearly a decade with an interruptible transport agreement and brought the installation’s overall Water Use Intensity, or WUI, 39.5% below the fiscal year 2007 baseline.

“The accomplishments of this year’s awardees [are] really impressive,” said Jack Surash, acting principal deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army [installations, energy and environment]. “Each nominee’s hard work supports energy and water resilience and enables Army readiness. Enabling warfighter readiness begins on our installations where Soldiers live, work and train.”

Approximately 80 installations were competing for awards in four categories presented during the ceremony, said Robert Ott, energy manager, Fort Campbell Directorate of Public Works. U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Campbell won alongside USAG-Fort Wainwright, Alaska and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineer Research Laboratory.

“This award program really recognizes the key efforts to improve energy and water resilience and sustainability, particularly on our installations,” said Lt. Gen. Jason Evans, deputy chief of staff, G-9. “Each award winner has excelled in that mission and is helping the Army build resilience by completing projects, plans and programs that ... mitigate the impact of unplanned outages and reduce the impact of rising commodity costs by reducing consumption.”

Energy efficiency is also a key component of mission readiness, Ott said. Maintaining a strong power grid ensures facilities like Campbell Army Airfield can support Soldiers, while proper water management mitigates the impact if the power grid fails.

“Let’s say the power goes out and we’re limited in our ability to produce water,” Ott said. “If we can clean up our losses across the installation, we can stretch the capabilities of our storage vessels to the point that we could have two days of water supply before we go dry.”

Water management efforts previously earned Fort Campbell the award in 2019, and Mark Linkous, public utilities specialist, DPW, has continued that work through fiscal year 2020 into the present day.

“Mark has been diligent in continuing to install water meters across the installation and monitoring where we’ve got losses in buildings, and he’s continued to increase the installs of low flow devices, particularly in the barracks,” Ott said. “In two successive years, he’s inspected multiple brigade equivalents of barracks spaces. This last year, he has inspected more than 3,000 barracks rooms – that’s equivalent to about three brigades.”

Those inspections are focused on checking for leaks and running water, then fixing any problems to reduce the demand for energy.

“A dripping faucet won’t be as bad as a toilet continuously running,” Linkous said. “But you’d hear it and see it immediately. For the housing resident, the best thing they can do is turn in service orders to Housing when they see something wrong, and Soldiers in the barracks can use the Army Maintenance application through the Digital Garrison App.”

Mir Khan, energy projects engineer, DPW, said the installation’s work renegotiating from an interruptible gas transport agreement to a firm gas transport agreement in 2019 was another major factor in winning the award.

“We’d operated on an interruptible agreement for about 10 years,” Ott said. “When we got done, we basically curbed the cost to the installation by about $2.3 million for the remaining term of the agreement. And we had about seven years left, so that’s about $300,000 a year that we’ve shaved off of money going out.”

In addition, Fort Campbell updated its Installation Energy and Water Plan, or IEWP, in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, working to sustain the installation’s resiliency, improve efficiencies and keep utilities affordable.

Over the course of the year, the installation saw energy consumption reductions of 2.5% and cost savings of 9% when compared to fiscal year 2019, and its overall Energy Use Intensity, or EUI, has decreased 25% from the fiscal year 2003 baseline according to the award nomination form.

A variety of projects have contributed to that effort, including one to install LED lighting in 17 buildings used by 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

“It was basically one footprint we handled for that project using Qualified Recycling Program (QRP) funding,” said Khan, who served as the project engineer. “We focused on all the admin buildings and did lighting upgrades throughout the 1st BCT area.”

The installation took over operations at the 1st BCT Central Energy Plant from a contractor in 2019 after a cost analysis determined it would yield $1.7 million in savings, and the LED lighting project is among several completed in the footprint since.

“It continues to improve our situation in the troop barracks,” Ott said. “And not only in the troop barracks, but the situation in terms of managing the facility, making sure we’re not wasting energy in those buildings and improving the comfort and climate in those facilities.”

Ott said winning the award for a second time shows Fort Campbell’s commitment to energy conservation and could benefit the installation in its continued efforts.

“I think it gives us credit for leadership when they look at where they’re going to make decisions on allocating funding for other programs,” he said. “It shows Fort Campbell will do the responsible thing and be good stewards of the dollars that are available to the Army, and we’ll continue to propel this effort forward.”