Naval Station Great Lakes Uses UESC to Complete Base-Wide Upgrades

August 31, 2005

  Photo of the Naval Station Great Lakes upgrade project
  Workers at Naval Station Great Lakes place a direct fired absorption chiller and construct high efficiency cooling towers.

Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL) relies on its utility energy services contract (UESC) program to upgrade infrastructure and meet energy conservation mandates. Supported by a strong relationship with their serving utility, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd), NSGL took advantage of the ease of using the contract vehicle and developed a Master Plan—a strategic roadmap outlining three key steps to base-wide energy savings to be accomplished in ten phases. The first step focused on the reduction of base loads through energy efficiency, upgrading all facilities, and installing a central energy management control system; the second step was an upgrade of the steam distribution system; and the third step modernized and optimized the central utility plant. Partway through the effort, Exelon purchased ComEd, and Exelon Services Federal Group led the technical efforts. Work resumed after Ameresco Federal Solutions (AFS) purchased Exelon Services Federal Group. Special credit is given to all the players who stayed the course, provided continuity, and helped insure success of the plan.

The initial phase, which included six buildings, began as a successful pilot in 1997. Since then, two phases per year have been developed and implemented. Step one was completed in 2002 with 635 energy conservation measures (ECMs) implemented in 153 buildings. Step two replaced 7,000 feet of steam and condensate lines to improve the utility distribution system. Step three includes rebuilding a major portion of the central plant to generate steam and electricity through a cogeneration system. AFS is currently implementing the final two phases of the plan.

Many creative and innovative ideas were integral to the Master Plan. For example, the buildings were classified by potential savings, and each phase was developed with 30 percent high, 50 percent medium, and 20 percent low potential buildings. Approval processes were streamlined. For example, all of the Hospital Command buildings were grouped in a single phase. As each phase was developed, AFS met with each building's Building Maintenance Supervisor (BMS) and the Public Works Center (PWC) maintenance staff in sequence to explain the program and include them in the development of ECMs. Upon project acceptance, the BMS, PWC staff, and operating personnel were trained on how to operate equipment and identify problems that reduce energy efficiency, assuring continued savings over the life of the equipment. AFS also guarantees the performance of the equipment and the projected savings for the first 12 months after acceptance operating through the four seasons.

Through this long-term technical and contractual partnership, NSGL has been successful in addressing the critical needs of aging infrastructure as well as the requirements of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and Executive Order 13123. The more than $100 million in investments saved more than $22 million and 1.3 billion Btu annually from electricity, steam, natural gas, fuel oil, and propane. Current projects will add more than $12 million to the annual savings. NSGL has standardized systems with increased reliability; optimized training; a simplified spare parts inventory; capability to operate all critical functions if outside power is disrupted; improved quality of life for sailors, educators, support personnel and their families; and reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The base is on track to meet and exceed government energy efficiency requirements. Without this program, the base energy use would be 30 percent greater than it is today.

For more information, please contact David McAndrew, FEMP, 202-586-7722 or Deb Beattie, NREL, at 303-384-7548.