Air Force earns majority of federal energy awards

Air Force earns majority of federal energy awards

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — It’s a banner year for the Air Force with the Department of Energy recently announcing that the service won a lion’s share of 2014 Federal Energy Management Program awards. 

The Air Force won its most ever: eight of the 25 projects or programs selected as deserving of this year’s coveted FEMP awards. In total, 10 government agencies won awards including the Navy with four and the Army with one. 

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center received 29 nomination packages from across the Air Force and culled them down to 15, the maximum accepted by DOE.

“The Air Force is doing great things to save energy, water and money,” said AFCEC Director Joe Sciabica. “Work by Airmen, civilians and contractors over the past two decades has created a cost avoidance of $626 million, money that can be better spent executing the Air Force mission.”

Program Award Winners

The Air Force Space Command Energy Program team of Jim Jacobsen, Monie McVay, Randall Pieper, Tim Pugh and Fox Theriault at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., focused on its top two energy intensive installations, high-efficiency exterior lighting and fleet fuel. AFSPC connected Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, to the electric grid, saving $1.5 million annually; made upgrades to a power plant at Thule Air Base, Greenland; saving 636,265 gallons of jet fuel and $2.6 million annually; and saved $1 million annually by installing 6,600 light emitting diode, or LED, street and parking lot fixtures across the command. AFSPC also implemented biodiesel throughout its fleet, the first command to do so. 

The Office of the Secretary of the Air Force Installations, Environment and Logistics Energy Analysis Task Force in Washington, D.C., made up of Chip Bulger, Jeffrey Havlicek, Mark Lyons, Alan Sims and Michael Smith leveraged the expertise of 18 Air Force Reserve members to incorporate industry best practices. Policy and procedural changes increased the amount of cargo moved on a gallon of fuel by 9.5 percent and reduced costs 8.6 percent. They also partnered with Air Mobility Command to enhance cargo load processes, eliminate 1,044 sorties and save $12.6 million in fuel.

Steve Perry, energy manager at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, won for his holistic energy plan. The plan includes best energy stewardship practices in aviation, vehicle and facility energy, which saved $760,000 in 2013. He empowered facility managers with the tools to benchmark usage and identify low-cost improvements. Perry also created the “Energy Saver of the Quarter Award” and a comic strip known as “The ReSOURCERS” to raise awareness across the Air Force via social media. 

Project Award Winners 

Jeffrey DeVore, Stephen Grimes, Gerry Mitchell and Alfonso Sanchez at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, worked together to rehabilitate an underutilized, historic 52,000 square foot, three-story hangar consolidating the Air Force Research Lab’s Power Control Division from multiple locations. These efforts earned the building the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, gold certification. It now uses 31.5 percent less energy with occupancy sensors for heating and cooling systems, and glazing on the outside of the building.

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Richard Hiatt and Griffith Turpin worked with the city of Anchorage, Alaska, and Doyon Utilities to build a landfill gas waste-to-energy plant on the installation. For years, the city had collected and burned landfill gas, primarily methane, next to the base. Now it’s used to generate more than 26 percent of JBER’s yearly electric load and is projected to save the Air Force $73.6 million over its 46-year lifecycle.

A team of engineers at Hurlburt Field, Fla., expanded and improved the installation’s graywater distribution system to reduce demand on the local water supply. In the past, Hurlburt pumped and treated 500,000 gallons per day from the local water supply in order to meet industrial and irrigation requirements. Lt. Col. Mark Donnithorne and Capt. Eric Morgan led the project to add more than 40,000 feet of piping and a 500,000 gallon storage tank. Hurlburt now supplies reuse water for irrigation, aircraft and vehicle wash racks, a fire training facility, and cooling towers along with providing excess water to the local community for reuse. As a result, Hurlburt reduced potable water consumption by 13 million gallons.

In Arizona, the Davis-Monthan AFB Energy Team worked with numerous agencies and programs, including the utility company, to upgrade 580 taxiway lights to LEDs, and 53 boilers and lights in 14 hangars and warehouses. Angela Flores, Gustavo Gonzalez, Greg Noble and Richard Whitaker worked together to add a new electric chiller plant and distribution loop. Multiple energy projects around the base last year is expected to save $253,000 annually. 

A team from Air Mobility Command and Air Force Materiel Command, made up of Stefan Bieniawski, William Blake, Keith Boone, David Dupnick and Donald Erbschloe, created a program called Surfing Aircraft Vortices for Energy, or SAVE. The program utilizes formation flight principles derived from flocks of migrating birds and uses the energy created in the draft of the formation leader. Using newly developed software, a C-17 formation with two planes saved more than 10,000 pounds of fuel during a round-trip mission from California to Hawaii in the summer of 2013. The trail aircraft used 10,800 pounds less fuel and saved $7,500. 

The DOE is planning an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.

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