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NEWS | Sept. 26, 2008

ESPC helps with energy conservation

By Meredith Canales 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

With energy conservation becoming more and more important on base, a new tool is being used to help the process. The Energy Saving Performance Contract provides Lackland the opportunity to have important energy saving measures enacted on base. 

"Under a federal order, we have to reduce our energy consumption by three percent every year until 2015," said Base Energy Manager Andres Hinojosa. "This began in 2006, and currently we're at 15 percent, so we're ahead of our goal." 

Mr. Hinjosa said the ability to contract companies to help with the reduction in energy costs greatly helps Lackland meet its goal more quickly. 

"The companies who are awarded the contracts come in and do surveys. Then they present it to us, the user, and make recommendations for reduction of consumption. Then we go into phase two if we want the contractor, and they give us a more detailed survey of what we can do," he said. 

The main thing the contractors do is look for inefficiencies in the energy-use process.
"One of the biggest things we are going to do as a result of this program is install a thermal energy storage tank," said Mr. Hinojosa. "The base has a demand charge with the electric company. In other words, the more energy we use at the highest peak, the more we pay, so what we try to do is reduce our demand at the hottest time of the day. We shift the usage from day to night. We use the chillers at night to chill the water and then store the chilled water in this 850,000 gallon tank. We'll then use the chilled water in the daytime and lower our energy costs." 

Two contracts were awarded to Lackland: the Department of Energy contract, which will result in almost $800,000 in savings, and the Air Force regional contract, which will save more than $1 million in costs. 

"Both contracts should take about 12 months to complete," said Mr. Hinojosa. "We use anywhere from $15 million to $17 million per year in energy, so a savings of this size is significant."