Fightertown meets gold standard again

30 Aug 2006 | Cpl. K. J. Broadus

For the second year in a row, Fightertown has been awarded the Gold Level Secretary of the Navy Energy Conservation Award.

The award is given annually to Navy and Marine Corps units for outstanding leadership in energy management, innovations in the improvement of energy efficient equipment and energy conserving approaches to training, daily operations, housekeeping and maintenance.

“This award is another recognition of a long-standing tradition of paying attention to our energy consumption and taking aggressive measures to manage it in a positive way,” said Col. Robert Lanham, the Air Station commanding officer.

It takes hard work all year and many hours to compile the data for submission, according to Neil Tisdale, the maintenance utilities director here.

“The yearly reports get judged and Headquarters Marine Corps gives out awards annually based on report submissions,” Tisdale said.

The Secretary of the Navy conservation awards recognized four different levels of achievement. The Energy Conservation Award is given to the top commands in each division. The platinum level indicates that an installation has an outstanding energy management program, the gold level indicates that a program is good to outstanding and the blue indicates a well-rounded energy management program.

The gold level of achievement also indicates that the Air Station’s energy management program has implemented significant energy projects during Fiscal Year 2005 and has demonstrated reductions in MBTUs. An MBTU is a standard unit of measurement for natural gas that provides a convenient basis for comparing the energy content of various grades of natural gas and other fuels.

“The award requires auditing buildings for energy conservation projects, achieving energy reduction goals, training personnel and keeping up with the number of buildings and sizes,” Tisdale said.

Some of the Air Station’s energy conservation projects included constructing a base-wide energy management system, performing peak electrical load reductions, installing 15 micro-turbines that generate electricity and hot water simultaneously, installing high intensity fluorescent lighting in the hangar and high-bay areas, installing geothermal heat pumps in 38 buildings - which are 30 percent more efficient than conventional systems - and installing a state-of-the-art, 750-ton variable primary chilled water flow chiller. The new chiller has the capability to supply chilled water to the mess hall and a majority of the barracks.

Since installation, the energy management system has saved the Air Station a large amount of time and money, according to Tisdale. It allowed scheduling of building air conditioning to come on only while the building is occupied and for remote troubleshooting, which in some cases allowed for temporary remote repairs. The remote troubleshooting also allowed repairmen to have a better idea of what needed to be repaired before they went out into the field.

The energy management system is also used to reduce peak electrical usage during summer months. This peak electrical usage reduction is also called load shedding. Load shedding allows the temperature set points in buildings to be raised when the micro-turbine plant and ice storage systems don't provide enough peak energy reduction. Although uncomfortable at times, it is a necessary system under current energy conservation guidelines.

“If gone unchecked, we can use electricity at a rate of about 10,000 kilowatts. If we peak at 10,000 kilowatts for just 15 minutes in the summer it would cost us about $45,00 extra for that month and an additional $400,000 for the remainder of the year,” Tisdale said.  “With our load shedding program, we are maintaining a 7,000 kilowatt peak presently.”

Overall, this year, Fightertown was able to improve Energy Conservation by 29.3 percent from FY 85, according to Tisdale.

“This award says that we are doing a good job with our energy program and that this is appreciated by the Secretary of the Navy,” Tisdale said. “Our energy program required command support to implement and we would not have accomplished what we have without the support of the (commanding officer and executive officer), S-4 Officer and Public Works.”

Although the Air Station will celebrate its second Gold Level Award in October at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C., it is not the first recognition the Air Station has received for outstanding achievement towards energy conservation. Fightertown  has also received the SecNav Energy Conservation Award, the Federal Management Program Award, the Federal Energy Showcase Award, the Energy Saver Showcase Award and the Commander in Chief’s Installation Excellence Award.

“I’m really proud of the staff and Marines and sailors who understand the importance of conserving energy.”