Majorly awesome military energy savers saluted

Majorly awesome military energy savers saluted

Service men and women are dedicated not only to the defense of the nation, but also to the efficiency of the oft-unsung electron. 

You may have heard some staggering statistics about how the Department of Defense (DoD) uses energy. A lot of it. As the nation's single largest energy consumer, DoD accounts for more than 1 percent of the nation's total electricity use, reports the U.S. Department of Energy.

But with great power (use) comes great (energy-saving) responsibility. 

DoD is committed to reducing its energy intensity through a variety of low- and no-cost efficiency measures. Solutions ranging from behavioral changes to insulation improvements have allowed DoD's energy use to reach a 38-year low, according to the Energy Information Administration. 

With the low-hanging fruit harvested, DoD is now challenged to find new opportunities to save energy and money despite budget cuts. 

"We're past cutting fat and now we're cutting muscle,” said John Conger, acting assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment. 

Here are some salute-worthy examples of how the military is becoming a lean, mean, energy-saving machine.


The Pentagon was designed in 1941 with one type of efficiency in mind. Despite having 17.5 miles of corridors, occupants can get from any one point in the building to another in seven minutes or less. However, energy efficiency was not originally a priority for one of the largest office buildings in the world.

Fast forward to today. Recommissioning activities have allowed DoD headquarters to achieve an 11 percent reduction in energy use intensity between fiscal year 2010 and 2014. Among other efforts to reduce electricity consumption, Washington Headquarters Services has installed more than 100 advanced meters and sub-meters to capture information about electricity, steam, chilled water, natural gas, hot water, and potable water use for individual buildings on the Pentagon Reservation. 


A team of architects and engineers from Wright-Patterson’s 88 Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Division successfully salvaged and renovated an underused, historic, 53,000-square-foot hangar built in 1934. An improved thermal envelope with spray foam insulation, stringent HVAC requirements, high-efficiency glazing, reduced exterior lighting and occupancy sensors are projected to reduce energy use by about 30 percent at the facility, saving more than $141,000 per year. 


The Naval Air Station Oceana successfully cut its energy use intensity by a whopping 52 percent in 2013. This Virginia Beach–based base launched concrete projects, such as equipment performance upgrades, ground-source heat pump installations, and lighting upgrades. Its innovative energy program also created the concept of distributed energy teams to encourage a natural, friendly, competitive environment that instills energy conscious behaviors. 


The energy team at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton achieved a 44 percent reduction in energy consumption, reaching the energy goal mandated by Executive Order 13123 six years early. Despite a two million square-foot increase in facility space, Camp Pendleton achieved its objective ahead of schedule by reducing its electrical load by introducing daylighting technology, retrofitting high-intensity light fixtures and successfully implementing an energy savings performance plan.  


The Army's first microgrid, which was installed at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 2013, continues to serve as a model for energy security and reliability. By incorporating renewable solar energy, storage capability, and demand management, this system is able to provide power without interruption even in situations when the local grid experiences an outage.


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Companies: U.S. Department of Energy

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