Story and by Greg Mitchell, FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka was recently selected along with 24 other installations as a recipient of the 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award.
The command deployed a strategy to use advanced technologies to improve energy efficiency across their large facility, executing $7.2 million in projects in fiscal year 2012 to save 7.9 billion British thermal units (Btu), 1.3 million gallons of water, and $625,000 in utility costs annually.
The Federal Energy and Water Management Awards recognize individuals, groups, and agencies for the outstanding use of energy- and water-efficiency technologies at federal facilities.
These annual awards highlight federal agency commitments to lead the nation in implementing efficiency measures to improve energy, water and vehicle fleet management that save taxpayer money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“It feels good to get validation of the efforts that we put in to get projects done here, as it isn’t always easy,” said FLEACT, Yokosuka Energy Manager, Thomas Bawden. “It’s a team effort.”
FLEACT, Yokosuka completed an extensive energy retrofit project to replace existing exit signs with more than 5,600 light emitting capacitor (LEC) exit signs throughout the main base and all base satellite locations—representing the largest utilization of LEC technology to date across federal government sites.
“We successfully replaced all the exit signs throughout Fleet Activities, Yokosuka,” said Bawden. “These new LEC exit signs on average use approximately 1 percent of the electricity that the old signs used. Considering that exit signs by nature are always on, that adds up to a huge cumulative amount of electricity saved, about 855 megawatt hours per year. Over time, there had been more than 150 models that were installed here and there across CFAY [FLEACT, Yokosuka]. Now we have one type of exit sign which is not only far more efficient, but easier for maintenance crews to handle. This is one of the first places across all federal facilities worldwide to have these installed.”
FLEACT, Yokosuka energy projects include the installation of a crystalline photovoltaic system and a copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin-film building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) system that enabled the site to adhere panels to an arched roof not suitable for traditionally-mounted photovoltaic (PV) panels.
The 396-kilowatt system is the largest solar BIPV thin-film installation in the Navy, as well as the largest CIGS-type solar PV system in all of Asia. FLEACT, Yokosuka has already reduced its energy intensity by 58 percent relative to the fiscal year 2003 baseline, and the total of 746 kilowatts installed in fiscal year 2012 helps Yokosuka base further reduce its reliance on the Japanese power grid.
“The CIGS type technology allows the solar panels to be flexible, so that they can be adhered to the curved roof of the Navy Exchange and Commissary,” said Bawden.
FLEACT, Yokosuka is the only command based out of another country to receive the award. With that comes certain challenges that are more than likely not encountered anywhere else.
“There are different regulations in terms of Japan and U.S., and there are different viewpoints,” said Bawden. “The majority of our workforce helping to contract and supervise construction and implement the projects is Japanese, so we just try to address all concerns. The biggest challenges have been the different electrical grid standards. Most examples of the products you may order from the United States require adjustments. For example, the Japanese use of the metric system versus our use of the inch system, and the electrical grid is a completely different standard from the U.S. But these are just some of the challenges that make it interesting.
The awards were presented by Dr. Timothy Unruh, Federal Emergency Management Program Director, and Mike Carr, Principal Deputy Secretary for Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, with remarks from the Honorable Dennis V. McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment).
In all, this year’s Federal Energy and Water Management Award winners saved a total of 1.9 trillion Btu of energy in fiscal year 2012.
In addition, these projects reduced water use by almost 400 million gallons and conserved 2.1 million gallons of fuel. The combined efforts resulted in an impressive $43 million in savings.
These initiatives also helped offset more than 86 billion Btu of fossil-based energy through a combination of renewable energy generation and purchases.
Even though he accepted the award, Bawden wanted to emphasize the efforts of the entire team.
“The energy team actually was composed of myself and Mike Gabiga, who has since moved on to work at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan,” said Bawden. “With our different strengths between us, he and I tag-teamed all the challenges we had concerning the energy program here. His position no longer exists, so he is now over at Atsugi, but he’s missed; that man was solid. Lastly, the Master Labor Contractor workforce here composes of a key component of all our teams at Public Works Department. It has been a benefit to work here with my diligent Japanese colleagues.”