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CHIPS Articles: Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Lauded for Energy Saving Programs

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest Lauded for Energy Saving Programs
By Jim Markle - July-September 2008
The Secretary of the Navy joined the Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington, D.C., recently to recognize Fleet Readiness Center Southwest's (FRCSW) fiscal year (FY) 2006 energy cost-saving programs.

This was the first year FRCSW was selected for the DOE's Federal Energy and Water Management Award, and the fifth consecutive year FRCSW earned the "Gold" level of achievement within the Secretary of the Navy's energy conservation program, signifying a "very good to outstanding" program.

FRCSW is Commander, Naval Air Forces' West Coast aircraft repair depot intermediate facility specializing in the support of Navy and Marine Corps aircraft and related systems.

FRCSW was one of eight Navy facilities recognized by DOE under the energy efficiency and water management category. The awards honor superior achievement in three additional categories including renewable energy sources, energy security and reliability, and energy-efficient mobility.

More than 100 nominations from federal agencies throughout the government were submitted to the DOE Federal Energy Management Program, but only 25 facilities and individuals were recognized with the award.

"Every year I submit an annual energy and water management report for the facility to the Navy; it's a fiscal year requirement. Then, the Navy evaluates each facility for specific performance criteria. SECNAV recognizes its commands for their achievements, but further nominates facilities demonstrating energy and water efficiency achievements to the DOE," said Lucy Sapien, FRCSW energy and water conservation manager.

The command reduced its FY 2006 energy usage by 9.34 percent, a savings of more than $500,000, Sapien noted.

Sapien said the completion of eight projects helped enhance energy efficiency and were key to the FY 2006 savings. The improvements were made possible through congressional energy funds which are allocated DOD-wide, she said. The cost of the projects was $2,216,768 with projected annual savings of more than $450,000 and 10,000 million British thermal units (MBTU). A MBTU is an energy measurement for steam, electricity or natural gas.

Two of the projects involved buildings 469 and 250.

"We upgraded the central plant, which basically is the building's heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system," Sapien said.

Energy improvements to Building 469 included installation of Turbocor chillers. The chillers use a chlorofluorocarbon-free coolant and require no oil or lubrication. They feature the "Hartman Loop," a computerized program that augments the HVAC system of the building. The program reads and balances equipment temperature and energy usage and adjusts them to optimize the most efficient use, Sapien said.

New chilled water and water variable pumping systems were installed to increase efficiency in HVAC cold water circulation and the building's hot water delivery system.

A Turbocor chiller retrofit was also installed in building 250, and the Siemens Technology energy management electronic control system was upgraded. The Siemens system monitors and controls a building's mechanical and electrical systems including lighting, heating and air conditioning.

Upgrades were also installed in buildings 94, 378, 466 and 472 to minimize leakage from compressed air sources. The move not only increased efficiency and reliability of equipment, but also generated approximately $20,000 in annual savings, Sapien said.

FRCSW employs an Energy Management Team, led by Sapien, that oversees existing and future energy conservation projects and identifies project funding sources. The team includes three representatives from facilities and two from environmental. It reports to the FRCSW Executive Steering Committee at least twice annually. Membership will soon expand to include legal, comptroller and safety representation, she said.

"Now that we're going on to some bigger projects, we'll be getting into some contractual issues. And that's where the comptroller and legal [representatives] will be instrumental. And for safety and environmental, we have issues like asbestos, which may need to be addressed.

"A lot of the projects we do are facility improvement measures, such as improving a building's structure, equipment, lighting or implementing new technology. So, we coordinate our efforts with the Industrial Production Support department as well as the building owners and occupants," Sapien said.

The next phase of energy projects is expected to begin this summer and include Turbocor chiller and other HVAC upgrades to buildings 378 and 472.

Several hi-bay buildings are slated for improved lighting, and building 460 will be the first to get "Daylighting" technology, a new lighting and skylight technology, Sapien said.

The new skylight technology diffuses natural light, prevents solar heat gain and creates a calibrated, controllable and aesthetically pleasing light throughout the work area.

In the lighting industry, "high bay" (also called hi-bay) and "low bay" (lo-bay) lighting refers to a skeletal framework used in industrial construction, which forms an interior subspace called a "bay," which in turn marks the space as "high bay" or "low bay."

Approximately $700,000 in annual utilities savings from the projects will be earmarked to pay for the improvements, Sapien said.

For more information, contact FRCSW public affairs at (619) 545-3415.

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