The Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, visited several locations here, April 23. She met with installation personnel from Directorate of Public Works and Fort Irwin leadership. Currently, DPW manages nine energy conservation measure projects, said Muhammad Bari, director of DPW. The projects save energy and conserve natural resources, which helps sustain the Army’s National Training Center and the fort, said Bari.
One of Hammack’s first stops was at the Child Development Center, which is certified gold in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The CDC facility was completed in 2011 and received the gold certification from the United States Green Building Council. According to the USGBC Web site, buildings receive LEED certification when they are constructed using strategies that will save money, conserve energy, reduce water consumption and improve indoor air quality. According to the USGBC, LEED certified buildings reduce energy and water bills by as much as 40 percent.
The CDC can accommodate up to 250 children, ages 6 weeks to kindergarten age, said Jenepher Wilson, assistant director for the CDC. The building’s 15-room layout and aesthetics are very beneficial to the CDC mission of providing care, education and meals to children, according to Wilson.
Bari told Hammack the CDC LEED building has resulted in a 34.4 percent reduction in energy costs and a 52.1 percent drop in water use.
Hammack also toured the site of a future waste-to-energy facility.
“The facility will convert trash to electricity through incineration,” said Hossam Kassab, resource efficiency manager at Sain Engineering. “The technology used by the facility would be a first for the Army and California.”
The facility would be another example of Fort Irwin using newer technology to reduce electricity usage, which translates into cost savings for the installation.
“In the long run we are saving money and reducing energy consumption,” Kassab said.
The waste-to-energy power plant is scheduled to be online by mid 2015, Bari said. By 2017, the goal is for Fort Irwin to recycle or convert all of its waste to electricity, and become net-zero waste.
“Nothing goes to waste, waste will be re-used,” Bari said.
At the rotational unit field maintenance area and along Fort Irwin streets, Hammack was able to view LED light fixtures that replaced older, less efficient bulbs. Rotational Soldiers work on vehicles at this site in which LED lights have led to an annual decrease of 672,000 kilowatt hours for a savings of $87,360, according to Bari’s brief.
With the replacement of high pressure sodium lights with LED fixtures, and installation of fixtures with solar-powered panels, the fort has significantly reduced the consumption of coal-generated power from the over-stressed California grid, according to Kassab. By combining low-wattage LED technology with grid-independent photovoltaic cells, the project contributes to an estimated average energy reduction of .5 million kilowatt hours per year and avoids the release of 3,734 metric tons of greenhouse gases. Kassab stated that the retrofit provides an advantageous payback and typifies the very concept of pursing the “lowest hanging fruit.” Fort Irwin earns thousands of dollars in billing credits for the LED lights; in addition, millions was pocketed by retrofitting instead of installing new electric poles, high-voltage wires, and transformers.