By Tina Ray/ParaglideSeptember 16, 2010
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - With an energy bill of $50 million, Fort Bragg has taken extraordinary measures to improve energy efficiency and security on the installation infrastructure and modernizing procedures.
One of the biggest steps has been the implementation of centralized monitoring for buildings and facilities relating to heating and cooling control. The system, known best as utility monitoring and control system, connects buildings to a "brain" or central server, which in turns lets officials know when a problem arises, said Jennifer McKenzie, Fort Bragg's energy manager.
A secondary benefit of UMCS is for buildings that do not need cooling or heating services at night, such as a dining facility, to be coded as unoccupied, McKenzie said. This switch in usage saves the installation money by ensuring that energy is not wasted.
Right now this is going into existing structures but as new buildings are constructed, they will also be integrated online, McKenzie said.
These energy measures align well with the Army Energy Security Implementation Strategy, launched in 2009.
According to Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commanding general of the Installation Management Command, a Line of Effort 6 section in the guiding document, Installation Management Campaign Plan, directs actions and focuses on energy efficiency and security.
The LOE 6 core message is that Fort Bragg is committed to enhancing Army capabilities and operations through energy and water efficiency and security.
One energy efficient initiative that reinforces the core message is the use of ground source heat pumps, a renewable energy, which relies on ground temperature to heat and cool buildings.
Optimizing the use of these stable, ground temperatures can significantly lower operating cost.
Currently on Fort Bragg there is a lack of information regarding energy consumption at the individual user levels. At this point Fort Bragg doesn't measure how efficiently the energy is being used so adding measuring capabilities is a priority.
The meter program will enable Fort Bragg to identify and target energy use issues. The program to purchase and install the required electrical and natural gas meters will cost around $7 million, said McKenzie.
Once the meters are installed, they can be read and the information will be relayed to Soldiers for educational purposes and to raise awareness about individual energy use and encourage best practices for consumption and efficiency.
Not only has Fort Bragg refocused on energy projects, but the very team members who work to facilitate the projects have grown from a single additional-duty person to a six-person team, McKenzie said.
Paul Hora is a part of that team. He works as an energy awareness manager and will be especially busy during October, which has been designated as Energy Awareness Month.
Hora said he has conducted training at nearly 20 directorates, including logistics, plans, training and mobilization and at the Soldier Support Center. He provides information about Fort Bragg's Green Directorate Program, which educates directorates about how to conserve energy and promote water efficiency, recycling and other efforts that minimize impact on the environment.
"We really go over the top in trying to get the energy message out to the community," said Hora. Workshops and events are conducted in partnership with the Army and Air Force Exchange, Department of Defense Education Activity, Picerne Military Housing and many others.
Some of the tips that Hora gives customers for resource conservation include:
Purchasing Energy Star appliances, which are 20 percent more efficient than their counterparts
Using a microwave instead of the stove for less energy output when cooking
Routinely changing air filters
Using compact fluorescent lights as opposed to incandescent light bulbs
Drying clothes during evening hours when air is cooler
Turning off lights when not in use
Another initiative that Fort Bragg has undertaken has been the reliance on hybrid vehicles in its fleet.
Currently, there are 15 sedans and 12 pick-up trucks, as well as seven hybrid, electric buses being used on Fort Bragg, said Charles Young, installation transportation planner.
The post stood up its new alternative fuel, green refueling station in February. The three types of available fuel are B20 biodiesel fuel, E85 ethanol and ultra low-sulfur diesel for all the non-tactical vehicles and government vehicles on Fort Bragg, officials said. Biodiesel is primarily made from soybean oil; ethanol from the grain in corn starch and low-sulfur diesel could lower emissions, all of which benefit the environment.
Just as the urgency of Fort Bragg's energy bill and LOE 6 were catalysts for improved energy awareness, attention has been paid to reducing Fort Bragg's water consumption.
During the lingering summer drought of 2002, average water consumption peaked at 13 to 14 million gallons a day, said Dave Heins, Environmental Division chief. Recent average consumption equals nine million, a reduction of four to five million gallons.
This reduction was obtained through measures such as the installation of low-flow toilets and showerheads in buildings, Heins said. Also, an odd-even watering schedule was adopted for outside watering since usage peaks during summer months.
In addition, Fort Bragg has partnered with the Public Works Commission and Harnett County to buy and treat water. Previously, Fort Bragg owned its own water plants, but that work has now been contracted to Old North Utility Systems. ONUS is responsible for maintenance and upgrading wastewater collection and drinking water distribution, Heins said.
Because this new privatization system was only adopted in June, there has been no analysis to determine savings, he added.
Yet, the way forward is clear for Soldiers and their Families to have a better quality of life.
"Focusing on our energy programs is truly non-negotiable," writes Lynch. "We have to look to our programs to generate savings..."
For more information on Fort Bragg conservation, visit www.bragg.army.mil/dpw, or contact Hora at firstname.lastname@example.org.