9/13/2012 VICENZA, Italy- Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack visited Vicenza, Italy, Sept. 14, as her final stop on a 10-day tour of U.S. Army installations in Germany and Italy.

Hammack met with U.S. Army Africa Commanding General Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue II and saw several significant energy and cost-saving initiatives on a tour with USAG Vicenza officials.

On Caserma Ederle, Hammack visited an operational co-generation central energy plant updated from a pre-existing central heating plant into a dual fuel facility that is 35 percent more efficient than the old, single fuel design. The Co-Gen CEP was also modified, along with the installation's electrical grid, to have the capability to power mission critical facilities when commercial power is off-line.

Greg Vallery, chief Engineering Division, USAG Vicenza Directorate of Public Works, explained that the $6 million project built with an Energy Savings Performance Contract not only provides more energy security for the post, but is also projected to save $800,000 in energy bills annually.

Col. David Buckingham, USAG Vicenza commander, then hosted Hammack for a visit of construction at Caserma Del Din, on the former Italian Dal Molin Italian Air Force Base in Vicenza, to see first-hand the many innovative facilities being built to achieve LEED Silver certification for the entirety of the new installation.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known as LEED, is a rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that provides a framework for builders and owners to identify and implement practical, measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance.

"There are many different ways you can manage energy," Hammack said. "The best way is to not use as much. If you build your buildings better, you put in better insulation, better windows and lighting and skylights -- all of those contribute to using less energy. Then what you want to do is manufacture, to make energy, in an efficient manner."

One of the jewels of Del Din is the new tri-generation central energy plant that will meet the electrical, heating and cooling needs of the entire base when it comes on-line in mid-December.

"Here at Del Din, we're making energy from fuel, but when you make electricity you have waste heat," Hammack explained. "We can take that waste heat and use it to heat hot water and to make air conditioning. So we have tri-generation -- one fuel, three outputs. [These are] greatly improved efficiencies and reduce fuel consumption. It is really a wise way to use energy."

Hammack also learned about photovoltaic projects on Caserma Ederle, Villaggio Army Family Housing area, and Caserma Del Din, a key program in the movement toward "Net Zero" installations across the Europe theater. "Net Zero" energy, for example, means that the total energy produced on-site over the period of a given year is equal to the installation's annual energy demand.

"As I've traveled through Germany and Italy and seen our bases here, we're increasing the amount of photovoltaic systems we're putting on our buildings, so we're making energy from a rapidly renewable resource," she said.

Photovoltaic systems on 19 Vicenza buildings will reduce annual electrical expenditures by $280,000 and provide incentives of $432,000 each year, bringing the payback for the solar power systems to just eight years, according to Vallery.

"When we make energy on site, which is part of 'Net Zero,' that means we've improved energy security," Hammack said. "That means we've improved our environmental footprint. We've also reduce our costs in an era of tight resources. All of those are important."

She stopped at installations in Baumholder, Stuttgart, Grafenwoehr, Garmisch, Kaiserslautern, Baden Wurttemberg, Bamberg, Schweinfurt and Ansbach before capping off the trip with a look at new construction and energy initiatives in Italy.

"The Army in Europe has really made an investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy," Hammack said. "It's amazing as you fly over or drive around Europe you see a lot more solar and wind than you would in the United States. Certainly energy costs more here in Europe, so many of these renewable energy technologies are more cost effective."

"I'm really amazed at the great work that's being done at the Garrison level, first of all to install photovoltaics and even consideration of wind energy on our bases," she continued. "It will certainly benefit our families in the future."

Hammack was accompanied on her visit to Europe bases by Sgt. Maj. Tracey Anbiya, senior enlisted adviser, and Paul D. Cramer, acting deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations, housing and partnerships.