Army directs new energy savings initiatives

Monday - 11/1/2010, 1:09pm EDT

By Max Cacas
Reporter
Federal News Radio

The Army has sent a pair of memos to facilities worldwide to improve energy efficiency.

The first of the two policy memos provides direction on how the Army designs and builds permanent buildings, said Katherine Hammack, the Army's assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment.

"What we have introduced is the latest version of the Sustainable Design and Development Policy that incorporates the guidelines from a recently published work that came out of a joint effort from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Maintenance Engineers, and the U.S. Green Building Council," Hammack said in a recent interview. "It's a standard for high-performance green buildings called ASHRAE standard 189.1."

Hammack said the new policy guidance focuses on water reduction and energy consumption, and specific ways to reduce the impact of Army facilities on the natural environment including, "efficient siting, cool roofs, solar water heating, and storm water management."

She said the newly issued standard is "very prescriptive, in that it's very specific in how you can incorporate these designs into new construction and renovation to achieve federal mandates for energy efficiency, water conservation and waste mitigation."

Hammack said the Army Corps of Engineers issued a study that found the service spends approximately $1.5 billion to provide electricity, and air handling for its structures each year, and that the new guidelines could save as much as 45 percent of that amount in the new buildings being constructed today.

Hammack said the second memo focused on how the Army lights its buildings.

"What the Army is doing is starting the phase out now," she said, of old, incandescent light bulbs and other legacy lighting technology, in accordance with a 2007 law approved by Congress.

She said that under the order as supplies of incandescent bulbs are exhausted the Army will replace them with more energy efficient CFL bulbs at Army facilities worldwide.

Hammack said there are benefits to the new lighting policy.

"They use three-to-five times less electricity," she said. "They also last anywhere from 5-to-10 times longer, and when they last longer, that reduces the amount of waste that we put in the waste stream."

The goal is to completely replace all incandescent lighting on all Army installations with energy efficient products within five years, Hammack added.

The new guidelines tie in with the Army Sustainability Report issued in May, outlining how to make sustainability part of the service's operational game plan.

Reducing energy use in the military also ties in with Defense Secretary Robert Gates' goal to eventually realize $100 billion in savings annually. Last week, the Navy announced the successful test of a prototype patrol boat which ran on an experimental 50-50 mix of regular diesel and algae-based biodiesel.

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