ARLINGTON, Va. — The Maine Army National Guard received the 2022 Secretary of the Army Energy and Water Management Award for Innovation and Technology.
The MEARNG was recognized for conceptualizing and installing natural gas-fired heat pumps in the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office at Camp Keyes in Augusta, Maine.
"Modernizing the 23,000-square-foot administrative, logistics and printing warehouse has resulted in an energy savings of over 60%," said A.J. Ballard, Maine National Guard energy manager.
The project, expected to save more than $70,000 a year in energy costs, marks the first natural gas-fired heat pump installation across the Department of Defense and the United States. Early indications show the pumps have reduced peak electrical demand by over 70 kilowatts per month and are on pace to eliminate the burning of over 3,800 gallons of fuel oil annually.
The building was constructed in the early 1960s and previously heated by two 10-gallon-an-hour oil-fired boilers with baseboard radiation and eight rooftop air conditioning and ventilation units with minimal insulation.
"[The modernization] included removing the large boiler system and the rooftop air conditioning units. The innovative technology utilized to achieve these savings was the new natural gas heat pumps, which reduced the building electric demand by over 50% with a simple payback in less than eight years."
"Resiliency and redundancy were compelling design factors, " Ballard said.
"Previously, the generator could only provide emergency power to approximately 30% of the building, but now it can provide power to the entire building," Ballard said.
The new equipment is also easier to maintain.