Fort McCoy News Oct. 14, 2016

Fort McCoy continues focus on energy savings

October is National Energy Action Month, which focuses on saving energy. At Fort McCoy, saving energy is a high priority for everyone at the installation, said Fort McCoy Energy Manager Michael Kelley with the Directorate of Public Works (DPW).

"We're required to find energy savings by federal mandate," Kelley said. "Energy savings translate into dollar savings, and that allows the Army to use the money that would go toward paying the utility bill to support its real mission instead. Money previously spent on utility bills can now be used elsewhere for improvements at the installation.

"There's also the environmental (improvement) aspect," Kelley said. "As we use less energy, (fewer) pollutants are released into the atmosphere, and the need for utilities to expand or construct new facilities is reduced."

Nolan Nolte (center), contract electrician with Kish and Sons Electric Company of La Crosse, Wis., and Derek Middleton, general contractor with Platte Construction of La Crosse, work together to install a street lamp on a pole at Fort McCoy South Post Housing in August.
Nolan Nolte (center), contract electrician with Kish and Sons Electric
Company of La Crosse, Wis., and Derek Middleton, general contractor
with Platte Construction of La Crosse, work together to install a street
lamp on a pole at Fort McCoy South Post Housing in August. The work
was part of a Directorate of Public Works work order to install energy-
efficient lighting in the housing area and several other areas on post.
The new LED street lamps each use less than an amp of power to
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

A good portion of Fort McCoy's current energy-savings projects are coordinated through an energy-savings-performance contract (ESPC) the post awarded to Johnson Controls Inc. in 2014.

"This is a partnership between the Army and an energy-service contractor (ESCO)," Kelley said. "In consultation with the garrison, the ESCO provides capital and expertise to make comprehensive energy- and water-efficiency improvements on facilities and maintains them in exchange for a portion of the generated savings. The ESCO guarantees the improvements will generate sufficient energy-cost savings to pay for the project over the term of the contract."

Through the ESPC, Kelley said the contractor designs, constructs, and obtains the necessary financing for an energy-savings project, and the agency makes payments over time to the contractor from the savings resulting from the reduction in the utility bills that are paid by the agency's appropriated funds.

The aggregate annual amount of payments to the contractor and payments for utilities cannot exceed the amount the agency would have paid for utilities without an ESPC, Kelley said. After the contract ends, all continuing cost savings accrue to the agency.

Energy-conservation measures, as part of the ESPC, also continue to take place around post regularly, Kelley said.

For example, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls have been upgraded in 67 buildings; lighting upgrades were completed in 91 buildings; a natural-gas-line extension was built to serve 68 South Post facilities; and HVAC equipment in 30 of the highest energy-usage buildings is being examined regularly, to include a postwide energy-management system to monitor and control HVAC and other building systems from a central location.

"With a capital cost of $7.2 million, anticipated total annual energy savings (from all recent projects) will be $488,566 with an energy reduction of 11.8 percent from current annual usage," Kelley said.

Kelley said upcoming projects are planned for fiscal year 2017 that are not part of the ESPC, including adding time clocks and override switches at approximately 57 administrative and classroom buildings to disable the outside air dampers from opening when unoccupied, and lighting improvement projects in six other areas around post.

"We're also looking to install occupied/unoccupied switches in troop-training facilities and removing the HVAC system in building 204 to convert the building to cold storage," Kelley said.

Master Planner Brian Harrie with DPW's Master Planning Division said energy savings also occur when newly constructed buildings replace "World War II wood" at Fort McCoy.

"Right now, our master planning and major construction projects have been developed to replace old, antiquated World War II wood with modern brick-and-mortar structures," Harrie said.

"Construction practices today on new buildings are far superior than we see in buildings constructed in 1941 that the Army intended to use for five to 10 years."

Kelley said members of the Fort McCoy workforce also can continue to help make the post a leader in energy savings in the Army.
"You should think about saving energy around the workplace as you would at your home," Kelley said.

"Just simple, common-sense things you'd do to reduce your own energy bill, such as turning off the lights when leaving a room and not leaving outside lights on during the day.

"And, unlike around the house where you need to make repairs yourself, here you can call the (DPW) Help Desk (608-388-4357) and have someone else do the work on things such as replacing missing weather stripping, fixing faulty HVAC equipment, or repairing leaky faucets," Kelley said.

"Treat your workplace as you would your own home, and we'll continue to see improved energy savings."

For more information about energy-saving actions at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-8682.

   (Prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and the Directorate of Public Works.)