Navy's Great Lakes Energy Project Moves Ahead

By Bill Couch, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest Public Affairs
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Naval Station (NAVSTA) Great Lakes and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Midwest are taking the next step toward decentralizing the base's steam heat delivery system, one of the largest energy efficiency initiatives in the 100-year history of the base.


Teams of prospective project contractors and NAVFAC representatives will conduct site visits in mid-January at many of the buildings on base to be affected. As part of the bidding process, this will give the companies a better sense of what will be involved in the project, to be awarded by summer 2012.


"This is one of the most significant projects undertaken within the region," said NAVFAC Midwest Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Bernotas. "Not only is the project large in scope, but also in future benefit. This project is really about preparing the base and Navy Region Midwest for a future where resources are more scarce." Over approximately the next five years, more than 100 of the base's buildings will be disconnected from the steam plant and its aging steam distribution lines. Instead, each building will have its own more efficient heating system. While building occupants may not notice a difference in their work areas (Navywide directives set heating points at 68 degrees and cooling points at 78 degrees), each building will be heated more efficiently, saving the Navy money, according to Public Works Department Great Lakes Energy Manager Peter Behrens.


"Having heating systems for each building will eliminate the energy loss inherent in having what is essentially a 20-mile-long radiator carrying steam around the base," said Behrens. NAVFAC anticipates this project will save the base around $9 million per year and reduce the base's overall energy intensity--the amount of energy used per square foot of occupied space--by 21 percent. Local projects like this will help the Navy achieve energy efficiency goals required by presidential executive orders, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. These require federal agencies to, among other things, reduce energy intensity by three percent annually and reduce water consumption by two percent annually.


Replacing utilities infrastructure, engaging tenants and staying on top of developments in technology and service agreements are keeping NAVSTA Great Lakes ahead of the Department of Defense's (DoD) energy reduction goals and currently saving $16 million per year, with plans to increase annual savings by an additional $12 million over the next few years.


"Great Lakes has actually been on the energy efficiency bandwagon for many years," said Behrens. "We've been working to improve the base's energy efficiency because reduced utility costs help not only the base and its tenants, but they also have a significant impact on the Navy. Savings in utilities frees resources for mission requirements."


Since 1997, NAVSTA has invested more than $120 million in energy-related projects, including Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESC) and Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC), which install more efficient energy systems at minimal cost to the Navy and with a contractor-guaranteed savings over time.


Future energy efficiency efforts on base will include improving people's awareness of the energy they use every day through the installation of advanced meters and reporting systems. Tenant commands and occupants of individual buildings will receive regular updates on how their behavior actually affects their building's energy performance, represented by a "Building Energy Number." This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps which will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve Secretary Ray Mabus' energy goals to improve energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase the military's energy independence, and help lead the nation toward a clean-energy economy. For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit

By Bill Couch, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest Public Affairs

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