Home to 44,000 soldiers and their families, Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C. is one of the world’s largest U.S. Army installations and has been designated an Army community of excellence. The 84-year-old post houses the 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps, along with the Army Special Operations Command and other rapid deployment units.
The energy management and modernization program at Fort Bragg also is a point of pride. Led by the post’s Directorate of Public Works, the program has become a business model for organizations seeking to optimize the implementation of Department of Defense energy and privatization policies.
As part of the program, Fort Bragg chose Honeywell for an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) in 1998. The post sought to decrease energy consumption and air emissions, repair and modernize facilities and infrastructure, and increase energy security and flexibility.
“Fort Bragg and Honeywell have developed a key partnership over the years that has resulted in energy savings and quality-of-life improvements to our installation,” said Greg Bean, director of public works for the post. “It has truly been a ‘win-win’ situation.”
Specifically, Fort Bragg has cut total energy costs by more $74 million through 2005, a current rate of about $15 million per year. In addition, Fort Bragg has been able to make millions in capital investments at no additional operating cost to the government or taxpayers. The work also has led to a reduction of 650 million pounds in carbon dioxide emissions - equivalent to removing more than 52,000 cars from the road for a year.
In addition to implementing demand-side strategies, such as lighting retrofits and HVAC system upgrades, Honeywell and Fort Bragg have worked to capture supply-side energy savings.
This includes negotiating a new natural gas contract, as well as a new power supply contract based on real-time pricing. The post also retrofitted its emergency generators with grid-paralleling switchgear. As a result, when energy prices are high, Fort Bragg can dispatch the generators.
The latest improvement: a combined heat and power (CHP) generation system at the 82nd Central Heating Plant, the largest of the post’s 14 central plants. The $11 million project, managed by the DPW and developed with the Department of Energy through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, went online in June 2004. The system is helping drive the plant’s extensive heating and cooling services, which affect approximately 50 barracks, buildings and other facilities.
Fort Bragg operates the CHP system with different control strategies to minimize operating costs. Optimization software in the plant’s supervisory control system determines the best operating strategy on an hourly basis. It considers the electric load, heating and cooling loads, grid electricity and fuel prices, equipment characteristics and weather data.
The software then determines how to best meet these loads using the CHP equipment, electric grid power, and the auxiliary heating and cooling equipment. The gains in efficiency and reliability come with notable improvements in comfort for the soldiers and their families.
The program, which continues with new projects, has gone further than conventional energy retrofits. Along with helping the base meet its efficiency mandates, the Fort Bragg-Honeywell team has enhanced Fort Bragg’s energy security. For example, the CHP system can support hospital and other critical base loads, reducing vulnerability to disruptions on the electric grid.
Less technical, but equally vital to the success of the program is a decidedly human element - the commitment on both sides to the long-term integration of public- and private-sector staff. Instead of being managed in “silos,” contractors work side-by-side with each other and their federal counterparts.
“This shows what can be accomplished when staff and service providers share a vision,” Bean said. “With our emphasis on good communication and continuous improvement, we can expect more savings in the future.”