ANSBACH, Germany (March 29, 2022) – Many of us take for granted that our offices and post housing have electricity, heat and running water without giving much thought to what it is costing the government and how reliable it is.
The Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Energy Office does that worrying for us. According to Brad Jennings, DPW energy manager, the energy program is three fold. The energy team refers to the energy program as a three-legged stool – resilience, efficiency, and affordability.
“We look primarily at a facility to be resilient from an energy standpoint that means energy security, making sure that our sources of energy are reliable,” said Jennings. “We must be able to sustain mission even in the event of a primary cut to a water line, electrical tie line or a natural gas line.”
Resilience, defined in the Army’s December 2020 Installation Energy and Water Strategic Plan (IEWSP), is to ensure that the Army has the required energy and water to complete critical missions under all conditions. Our installation energy and water resources and supplies that support critical missions must be able to withstand attack and recover from interruption in support of seamless Army mission execution.
“We conducted a study to show how resilient we are to see if we can sustain our mission for three days, five days, seven days, up to two weeks and beyond,” said Salvatore Corcione, DPW resource efficiency manager. “We did the study over a course of a year working with the different garrison operations and stakeholders to focus on how resilient our infrastructure is if we encounter an emergency.”
The results of that study went into the Ansbach Installation Energy and Water Plan (IEWP). Ansbach is one of only a few overseas locations that has a finalized IEWP.
“The IEWP really is our roadmap to resiliency, basically identifies where we have gaps, where we have room for improvement,” said Corcione. “It also identifies where we are good, where we are stronger in areas than others.
“It basically gives us a roadmap to develop projects and other courses of action to fill in those gaps,” added Corcione.
The Army IEWSP states efficiency includes activities to decrease the amount of energy and water required to support Army missions. Army energy and water infrastructure must be adapted to reduce usage to maintain effectiveness and support future capabilities with high intensity usage.
“We have seen since 2015, a steady increase in the amount of folks who live and work here on post and that’s projected to keep climbing to sustain mission here,” said Jennings. “The more folks you have on post, the more energy you’re going to use. This makes it all the more important to try to be more conservative in that energy use; especially in an energy emergency.”
The Energy Office is working with the Urlas Exchange to make their main facility more energy efficient.
“Our exchange is one of our newer buildings but it is also huge and one of the few buildings that we both heat and cool making it among our top energy users,” Jennings said. “To their credit, AAFES came to us and said that they wanted to work with us to become more energy efficient.
“Right now we are in the middle of a retro commissioning effort, which is fine tuning how the building systems operate, trimming all the fat that may be there and finding some of the low hanging fruit, like low cost, no cost projects to implement savings,” explained Jennings. “One large opportunity we see is they have a space that has so many different vendors, so many different occupants and they all operate on different schedules so we are going to go in and focus on making sure the systems providing heat and cooling are all scheduled precisely and we are not having equipment running when we don’t need to.”
According to the IEWSP, The Army spends more than $1 billion per year on facility energy and water. In order to optimize Army energy and water expenditures, investments must be considered both upfront and over their life cycle.
“We have had an incredible jump in price of natural gas which is one of our primary fuel for operations here,” said Jennings. “Natural gas fuels some of our electricity purchases from the city of Ansbach but is also the primary fuel that heats the water that feeds all of our radiators.”
The city of Ansbach provides all the electricity, natural gas and water to the U.S. Army kasernes around the city. Neustadt a.d. Aisch provides support to Storck Barracks.
“The interactions we’ve had most recently with them (the city) has been centered around pricing and looking at the volatility of the natural gas pricing and how we pay for electricity,” said Eric Segura, DPW resource efficiency manager.
Educating the community on what they can do is important to the Energy Office.
“Having others see something different or odd in their houses or offices, not heating right or that is cold in this room but hot in another, having a voice to say there is a problem here,” said Segura “Allows us or others to go investigate and make things more efficient.”
One area the team is looking at is the installation of LED lighting.
“Primarily what we are looking at for our energy savings program is the installation of LED lights, as opposed to fluorescent tubes or incandescent bulbs, save around 50% of the energy for the same amount of light,” said Jennings. “We are looking at mostly a one-for-one replacement in office buildings, housing, hangars, Exchange, gym, all of these different places.
“In terms of helping us save energy, it is sort of an automatic and helps us as we increase the population because the more run hours you get on a light the more you are going to save,” he said. “You are going to spend money on the electricity but you are going to save more In terms of initiatives.”
The energy team plans to work with housing and talked about initiatives, specifically lighting, where they can work through the self help desk and make sure people are exchanging their old light bulbs for LED light bulbs.
How the community can help the energy office build its three-legged stool, according the Jennings, is to help people understand where they can make changes in their energy behaviors. “Turning off lights is easy but also regulating temperatures,” he said. “Often times we go into buildings, barracks or some of the stairwell apartments and looking at the radiators, the dial is sometimes on 5 (highest) and the window is open – it’s behavior modification.”