DOD Energy Monitoring and Control Systems:

Potential for Nonenergy Savings; Better Planning and Guidance Needed

LCD-80-81: Published: Aug 14, 1980. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 1980.

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To help energy conservation goals for federally owned buildings, the Department of Defense (DOD) is installing Energy Monitoring and Control Systems (EMCS) at military installations. EMCS provided central control over heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems to maintain temperatures at predetermined levels. Personnel requirements can be reduced through the use of EMCS for centralized monitoring of boiler plants, water treatment, and sewage disposal systems. Since fiscal year 1976, Congress has appropriated about $144 million for 131 projects at 115 locations of the Energy Conservation Investment Program under DOD. Although energy systems can contribute to economical and efficient operation of facilities, present funding criteria, which require projects to be justified on the basis of energy savings, do not permit DOD to take full advantage of other savings such as reductions in staffing needs.

A review of 16 projects at 14 Army, Navy, and Air Force bases disclosed the following problems: (1) thirteen bases programmed systems without the benefit of master plans; (2) nine installations did not consider all buildings which might be serviced by the system, or included buildings which were demolished or were not suitable for an energy system; (3) the services did not know if they had selected the most cost-effective buildings; (4) insufficient planning and poor cost estimating resulted in reduced scopes for six projects; (5) inaccurate savings or cost estimates were used by the services to justify 10 projects; and (6) programmed savings for nine projects will not be achieved because of reduced scopes, inaccurate savings assumptions, or failure to offset savings with recurring costs. Generally, systems have been installed to service a single installation. Except for the Air Force, the services lack guidance on providing staff to manage energy systems. Adequate and timely staffing is necessary if an installation expects to achieve efficient and full use of its system. DOD has adopted tri-service specifications to provide competitive procurement. DOD does not have access to manufactures' information about how the systems work or how they may be made compatible with other systems. Athough the Army and the Air Force have flexible policies for expanding proprietary systems, the Navy insists on using the tri-service specifications. Tri-service specifications, if used properly, can be an effective tool to obtain competition on new systems.

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