By Jim Frisinger Fort Worth District FORT WORTH – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is demonstrating new planning technology that integrates two proven software tools to help installations meet tougher sustainability requirements. Writing Sustainability Component Plans, which help master planners identify long-term conservation measures to reduce energy, water and waste, requires time-consuming data collection. This new tool simplifies and speeds up the process as well as responds to several sustainability initiatives, energy directives, and Army Net Zero initiatives for a new approach to manage and optimize energy flows on Department of Defense installations. A USACE team, under a project from the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program, is demonstrating the new tool this year. The tool puts installation managers in charge of implementing energy plans, improving upon the SCP process without the need for outside consultants, said Susan Wolters, the project manager from the Fort Worth District USACE Regional Planning and Environmental Center. The streamlining means the time-intensive data collection and reporting requirements of the one-off SCP can now be replaced by an iterative process that can easily update studies as conditions warrant. It reduces the time, and hence the cost, of doing energy planning, she said. Planners at Fort Hood, Texas, were an eager audience in August when the USACE team demonstrated the concept. Fort Hood is the Army’s largest energy consumer, managing more than 2,000 facilities on its 214,895-acre footprint. Already a sustainability leader, the base is working to meet more stringent sustainability requirements. Executive Order 13693 of 2015, when implemented, requires a cut of 2.5 percent in energy use every year for the next 10 years, with at least 30 percent of it from renewable sources by 2025.
One of the two tools is the Comprehensive Asset Master Planning Solution (CAMPS) Dashboard. Fort Hood developed this master planning tool with USACE and Ecology and Environmental Inc. CAMPS provides Fort Hood a consolidated “mashup” of tenant, facilities and mapping data. Planning, energy, maintenance, engineering, environmental and tenant organization commanders have gravitated to CAMPS for its user-friendly design and visuals.
The other tool is the Net Zero Planner, developed by U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Its robust energy forecasting capabilities knit together an analysis of energy efficiency measures at the building level with EEMs that have an installationwide scope, such as cogeneration and wind. The Fort Worth District has been utilizing NZP in the development of SCPs over the past year, and this year NZP is being adapted to analyze water and solid waste. The project seeks to prove the integrated tool’s applicability across DOD by demonstrating it both at Fort Hood, a CAMPS-savvy site – and at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii – which hasn’t had CAMPS. Here’s how the new tool works. Installation personnel are trained to set up an energy study driven by the short- and long-term phasing and vision of an Area Development Plan. Planners set specific parameters/goals for each study. Once designed, the study request, which draws on existing ADP planning and metering data, is sent to NZP for analysis. The August workshop produced energy study results for the 1st Cavalry Division ADP. NZP then runs hundreds of different scenarios in its analysis and in a matter of an hour can produce results. The NZP output lists investment and lifecycle costs for each alternative presented. It reports a number of energy usage reduction alternatives that visualize energy flows, show flagging facilities consuming excessive energy compared to benchmarks, and identify EEM opportunities. Installation managers then select their preferred alternative to transform into an execution plan recommendation aided by the visual communication powers of CAMPS. “With CAMPS already housing all the building and metering data, it overcomes the cumbersome process of collecting it for the NZP to process,” Wolters said. “By combining the two tools, all that data management is performed one time for CAMPS. You select the site in which you want to create the study, the data are already there, you run several simulations and moments later the study enumerations include better and best energy scenarios.” The time-intensive nature of energy planning activities – typically requiring several months overall – meant that they are typically conducted every few years. But by combining CAMPS with NZP, these can be integrated into the daily work flow and updated multiple times a year as needed requiring a couple of weeks overall. The new tool will inject new ideas proven at other installations and help Fort Hood “think a little more outside that box we were getting ready to fall into,” said Africa Welch-Castle, a Fort Hood mechanical utilities engineer at the Directorate of Public Works Energy Management Branch. The base is already using lighting retrofits, tightened building envelopes, solar thermal, photovoltaics, condensing water loops and ground source heat pumps, she said. “But what else can we do? What gets us closer to Net Zero energy?” The new tool will also help translate energy studies into visual presentations that help her sell new EEMs up the chain of command to compete for net zero funding.
Michael Case, NZP Program manager at ERDC-Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and a co-principal investigator for this project, said demonstrating how NZP-CAMPS can generate efficiency measures for water and solid waste would be a likely follow up. The tool could also be expanded to serve operations and maintenance as well as sustainment, restoration and modernization planning in combination with BUILDER’s software suite. “We always say, ‘Don’t make short-term decisions without a long-term plan’,” Case said. “By bringing all these systems together it makes it a lot easier to keep the long-term plan in mind when you’re making the day-to-day decisions.” * A version of this article appeared earlier in Public Works Digest.