WR-ALC, 78th CEG: Working together for energy efficient solutions

  • Published
  • By Joseph Mather
  • Robins Public Affairs

Keeping the lights on at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, requires a lot of energy.

The 78th Civil Engineering Group and the 402nd Maintenance Support Group Energy Assurance Office with the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex are working together to ensure the base energy needs are met and managed properly.

Scott Holmes, 402 MXSG Energy Assurance Office mechanical engineer, said the Air Force Civil Engineering Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Detachment 6 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, established a local energy Program Management Office at Robins which has representatives from both the 402 MXSG Energy Assurance and the 78th CEG Energy Office.

“The PMO is working on around a dozen projects,” he said. “Some of the projects have finished construction and are now in the maintenance phase.”

Holmes said $60 million in utility energy service Contracts have been implemented to upgrade compressed air plants, chilled water plants and hot water boilers, and replace HVAC systems and upgrade lighting for production processes.

“The 402nd MXSG Energy Assurance Office develops projects that improve the performance, energy efficiency and resiliency of process equipment in support of the WR-ALC production processes,” he said. “Our office diligently works to reduce energy costs and consumption but also to reduce production costs through improved efficiency and reliability of process equipment and infrastructure.”

Duke Thigpen, 78th CEG Energy Management chief, said the Energy Office reviews every single potential project at Robins to ensure energy requirements are being met. 

“The 78th CEG Energy Office works to identify, develop, and execute specific projects that are related to energy,” he said. “Whether the goal is to increase capacity, maintain performance, create redundancy, or lower consumption, our office strives to pursue these projects for the greater good of Robins.”

A $43 million energy savings performance contract was used to upgrade buildings across the base, said Thigpen.

“We upgraded lighting in more than 300 facilities all across the base to the most modern, energy-efficient LED lights,” he said. “We also added facility automated systems to increase the efficiency of HVAC systems, and made several upgrades to the central heating and cooling plants to help the efficiency and reliability of our customers’ HVAC systems.”

Holmes said the projects cover a wide range of areas and are important because they will directly or indirectly reduce energy consumption at Robins.

“The projects will also make the energy sources and the energy demands/points-of-use throughout the base more reliable,” he said. “This will allow all missions to continue without virtually any disruption.”

Thigpen said customer and tenant management means properly metering and billing for the consumption of utilities.

Thigpen said the Energy Office pays the bills it receives from the local utility providers for electricity and natural gas.

“The Energy Office then charges each mission partner for their share of the bills,” he said. “Also the Energy Office receives cost information to produce our own utilities – potable water, sanitary sewer treatment, steam and chilled water – from the CE shops and charges each mission partner for their share of those costs as well.

“There are endless impacts when it comes to energy and the overall mission at Robins,” he continued. “Long term sustainability means finding solutions to outdated technology, lowering energy consumption, increasing redundancy and resiliency, and planning for the future of the base.

Holmes agreed while stressing the importance of the partnership between the 78th CEG and the complex.

“I think the work done in both the WR-ALC and 78th CEG Energy Offices is vital to the future sustainment and prosperity of Robins,” he said.