Energy Savings Contract Saving Fort Bliss Millions, Providing Soldier Comfort

A U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville energy savings project at Fort Bliss, Texas, is saving the installation money by reducing costs related to energy consumption.

However, one aspect of the project is also aiding Soldiers’ comfort during vital training exercises.

The ESPC contract guarantees that electric, natural gas, water, and operational savings will total just over $60 million over the term of the 23-year performance period.

Huntsville Center is considered the Army’s expert in Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) utilizing private capital to make infrastructure improvements and new efficiencies without tapping into the capital budget to support and enable the warfighter and meet energy and environmental mandates.

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Dennis Lacy, ESPC project manager, said the Fort Bliss project is a typical ESPC contract creating savings for the installation year-after-year throughout the project contract period and often replacing equipment near the end of its service life with higher efficiency energy solutions.

Lacy said the project has an eight year verified savings of more than $2 million.

Gene Curtiss, Fort Bliss Department of Public Works (DPW), said Huntsville Centers execution of the Fort Bliss ESPC has been exceptional.

“They (Huntsville Center ESPC personnel) have supported me when needed, adding to the overall experience of saving our post millions of dollars in energy savings,” Curtiss said.

“Fort Bliss DPW continues to work with Huntsville Center on future ESPC’s and hopefully they will be as successful as the ones we have done in the past,” Curtiss said.

Energy conservation measures for the Fort Bliss project includes ground source heat pump installation, water conservation, building management system and energy-efficient lighting Improvement and solar photovoltaic capability.
However, Lacy said one aspect of the contract mission not only provides for the overall financial and environmental savings, but aids in the physical comfort of Soldiers training at the Fort Bliss Operational Readiness-Mission Training Complex (OR-MTC) supporting deploying and redeploying service members, Department of Defense civilians and contractors.

The OR-MTC is comprised of Camp McGregor, Camp Westbrook, Camp Dona Ana and Camp Oro Grande, which provides quality of life troop sustainment for units conducting mobilization validation certification training, and Pre-Mobilization/Exercise Training (PMET).

Located just a few miles north of the New Mexico-Texas border, Camp Westbrook is a training site meant to mimic a Forward Operating Base (FOB) located within the deserts of Southwest Asia. A FOB is a secure military installation, most likely a base used to help with tactical operations in a geographic area.

Lacy said a necessary downsizing of the ground source heat pump at FOB Westbrook still provided savings, but did reduce the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the Quonset huts used by the Soldiers at the FOB.

Lacy said consequently it was determined that the contractor would spray 80 Quonset huts with R-19 foam insulation.

“When the Soldiers walk inside from the elements of into the huts, the spray foam’s effect on the internal clime is every bit noticeable,” Lacy said.

Eighty Quonset huts were sprayed with foam and occupied heating setpoint is 68°F and occupied cooling setpoint is 70°F.

Curtiss said without the spray foam, summer temperatures in most huts ran in the 80s.

“This goes without saying we had the same issues in the winter trying to get the huts out of the 60s,” he said.

Curtiss said after the spray foam was installed, there were no issues maintaining low 70s in the summer and winter temperatures around 70s too with minimal complaints mostly due to normal HVAC issues.

Lacy said it is nice to not only reduce energy use but provide a noticeable comfort to the Soldiers improving their ability to perform with focus on the job and increased attention to detail.

“We want to do whatever we can to support our warfighters, Lacy said.

“Often, reducing energy consumption, requires ‘turn the light off’ or ‘use less water’ training. But buttoning up – and in this case insulating a building enveloped with spray foam — is not ’educating’ a Soldier to do anything other than walk in out of the elements into a temperate facility to perform their mission,” Lacy said.