Bldg. 905 acts as energy test bed

  • Published
  • By Col. Carl Buhler
  • 78th Air Base Wing Commander
On June 4, I rolled out the "energy solution matrix" for Bldg. 905 in an article titled the "Energy Buck Stops Here." I followed up with a July 9 Rev-Up article, where I explained how we would use Bldg. 905 to help identify a number of energy-reduction initiatives which can be applied to similar buildings across the installation.

The process involved a lot of work, but the concept was fairly simple: Analyze the building's operations when it is occupied and when it's not in use. To do this, we examined its mechanical and electrical systems (HVAC, controls, pumps, motors, fans, lighting, computers, etc.), its operations, and temperature/humidity levels around the facility. From that analysis, we were able to garner knowledge about energy and utility consumption.

This data will help the base energy office establish plans to help the base comply with a variety of federal laws, executive orders and Air Force directives to reduce our energy intensity 30 percent by fiscal 2015. This reduction in energy intensity is based off the baseline established in fiscal year 2003.

Additionally, our water intensity needs to be cut by 26 percent by the end of fiscal 2020, as compared to the fiscal 2007 baseline.

From our observations and analysis in Bldg. 905, we identified 11 opportunities which could reduce annual energy more than 330,000 kilowatt hours and save approximately $20,500 annually, without sacrificing human comfort. Three of the eleven initiatives have already been initiated.

The first initiative is setting back the building's five air handlers at night. Confirmation has been received to show the air handlers are shutting down correctly at adjusted programmed times. In fact, the electric meter verified significant energy reductions by changing the temperatures at night and on weekends, which will lead to an annual energy savings of 104,738 kWh and a savings of approximately $6,500 per year.

Second, 20 power strips were installed in workstations within Bldg. 905. Preliminary estimates revealed an energy savings of about seven kWh per week per work station, or 63,076 kWh and $3,911 in savings per year. However, although we know using power strips are beneficial for saving energy, we realize people often forget to shut the power strips off when going home, so we looked for a way to do this automatically.

To that end, our base energy office found a second generation "smart" power strip with an automatic timer and a remote on/off switch which makes it easier to power down workstations before heading home, or when the timer automatically activates --after 11 hours from when it was first activated.

We found this automatic feature will yield even more savings by automatically shutting off peripherals in the event the user forgets to shut off the strip, while still providing the option for the user to flip the remote power down switch. We're excited about these additional savings and have decided to purchase another 168 of the power strips for the building.

Furthermore, we're also in the process of adding the building chiller, cooling tower, hot and cold water circulation pumps, and exhaust fan to the building energy management system. These initiatives will save an additional 162,915 kWh and $10,100 when complete.

With substantial progress made to save energy and needed funds through these three initiatives, we're excited about continuing to implement additional initiatives we know will save energy, not just in Bldg. 905, but throughout the base. I will continue to report back on our progress.

In closing, as we implement other energy saving initiatives, I ask for your cooperation, support, and leadership to help make energy a consideration in all we do.

To learn more, including how you may help, please call the Energy Office at 327-8663 or email