By Mike W. Ray , Tinker Public Affairs
/ Published November 02, 2012
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
The largest domestic energy retrofit project in the U.S. Air Force will be launched soon at Tinker Air Force Base through a public-private partnership.
The project will remove 56 buildings from the base's steam grid and thereby reduce water consumption by almost 20 million gallons annually, will trim natural-gas usage by about 30 percent, and will reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 60 million pounds, officials reported.
Col. Steven Bleymaier, 72nd Air Base Wing and Tinker installation commander, said the Energy Savings Performance Contract will save the Air Force -- and U.S. taxpayers -- $6.4 million the first year alone, and will conserve enough energy to power 12,424 "average" homes each year.
Tinker has lowered its water usage by 25 percent from a 2007 federally mandated baseline, and has trimmed its energy consumption by 22 percent since 2003, Colonel Bleymaier said. Nevertheless, Tinker remains the biggest energy consumer in the Air Force, "and that's a No. 1 we don't want to be," he said.
As just one example, the compressed air facility in Bldg. 210 uses 10.4 million gallons of water and consumes 17,391 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, according to Brian Gilliam, Industrial Plant Equipment Maintenance Flight chief, 76th Maintenance Support Squadron.
The ESPC improvements "will help Tinker Air Force Base exceed" the mandated 30 percent reduction in the base's energy "footprint" by 2015, Colonel Bleymaier said. "This project will change the energy landscape on Tinker Air Force Base," he declared.
The ESPC began at Tinker in 2006 as a pilot program, in the Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One area on the south side of the base, the commander related. It began with 12 buildings and the decentralization of a small boiler plant, records reflect. "That project is saving $800,000 per year in energy, operations and maintenance reductions," Colonel Bleymaier said.
The new performance contract will "improve the energy efficiency" in dozens of buildings across the base, will decentralize three steam plants at Tinker and will improve a fourth, the colonel said.
The ESPC was marked with a symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning at Bldg. 5802, a central heating plant. Among those in attendance were Col. Douglas Wise, chief of the Civil Engineer Operations and Readiness Division, Installations and Mission Support, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB; and Les Martin, ESPC Program Manager at the Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency.
The Energy Savings Performance Contract, coupled with Utility Energy Service Contracts that Tinker has with utility providers, will enable the base to "make major upgrades to facilities without investing large sums of capital upfront," Colonel Bleymaier said.
The ESPC is a partnership among Tinker, the U.S. Department of Energy, and Honeywell. "This is a success story, and it's about teamwork, the public and private sectors all working together to tackle a major problem," Colonel Bleymaier said.
"We are at the beginning of a journey as partners," said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. Tinker is No. 1 in energy consumption in the Air Force, but, "We're going to get off that list in a hurry," he vowed.
An ESPC is a partnership between a federal agency and an energy service company. The ESCO (in this case, Honeywell) performs a comprehensive energy audit for the federal facility (in this case, Tinker AFB) and identifies improvements to save energy. In consultation with the federal agency, the ESCO designs and constructs a project that meets the agency's needs and arranges the necessary funding. The ESCO guarantees that the improvements will generate energy cost savings sufficient to pay for the project over the term of the contract. After the contract ends, all additional cost savings accrue to the agency.
Under this ESPC, Honeywell secured a loan from a bank and will use the proceeds to make the improvements at Tinker. The federal government, in turn, will reimburse the contractor with savings from the ESPC; the agreement requires the company to prove the energy savings it claims. The $80.6 million contract will be paid off in about 23 years, analysts estimate.