MacDill makes strides in energy conservation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Since 2010, MacDill has been making strides to conserve energy. The Environmental Protection Act of 2005, required the installation of utility meters on all federal facilities by Oct. 1, 2012 with a goal of using advanced metering systems where practicable.

The investment in advanced metering systems and the switch to light-emitting diode (LED) lighting will produce a long term positive return on investment at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

"The purpose of these initiatives is to save resources in the form of dollars," commented David Walker, MacDill AFB energy manager. "Everyone is being squeezed within their budgets; and if we can save on a consumable, like the utility bill, the budget doesn't have to be cut elsewhere."

Installing the advanced metering systems was the first step in the right direction for MacDill when it came to energy conservation and cutting costs.

"Meters were the first step because we had to know what was being used and where," stated Walker. "The metering system is the core of it all; it allows us to identify a problem, the solution to the problem and then measure the return on that investment."

According to Walker, MacDill AFB was the first base to have completed the installation of the EPAct compliant advanced meters and have a fully communicating real-time wireless data collecting network.

"The metering system allows us to make changes in a building, see how the building performs the next day and extrapolate the savings from that," commented Walker. "Before it was just estimation, a calculation on paper, now it's real world data."

Robert Hughes, 6th Civil Engineer Squadron director, stated that some of the changes made were set points in buildings and the times the systems ran. This allowed them to verify the effectiveness of the changes using the advanced metering system's collected data.

For MacDill, the advanced metering system was just the beginning. Due to the data collected from the system, the base has been able to gain headway in other areas with the installation of LED lighting.

"Since the installation of the LED lighting, the base has seen, on average, a 62 percent wattage reduction compared to the lights previously used," stated Walker. "On top of these reductions, the responsibility is now taken away from the Airmen of having to purchase lamps or replace lamps because of the 10-year warranty we have on the product."

The first phase of MacDill's investment strategy was funded using energy focus funds. Following the initial investments in HVAC replacement, retro-commissioning, metering installations and LED lighting, most investments have been accomplished using available year-end funding.

"As we received fallout money in September, either from the Air Mobility Command or other sources, we invested in the installation of LED lighting because it has a decent payback," commented Hughes. "The lighting will pay for itself in four years."

"We're saving a significant amount of dollars," stated Walker. "The electricity bill in FY12 was $16 million and this year we hope to get it under $13 million."