Energy Checklist Helps Increase Efficiency

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Story Number: NNS140320-09Release Date: 3/20/2014 10:51:00 AM

By Shawn Miller, Naval District Washington Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- As each of the five pillars of the Naval District Washington (NDW) energy policy build upon one another into a comprehensive strategy, efficiency becomes a keystone in the hierarchy.

Energy leaders within Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and other NDW commands are teaming up in an effort to improve building and utility infrastructure and vehicles by incorporating technology and management practices in the hopes of saving power and money.

One of the main areas being looked at is renovation and construction of high performance and sustainable buildings through the NDW-NAVFAC Capital Improvements Energy Checklist and the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

The energy checklist is a tool to help bridge the gap between more than 40 energy mandates and the end products and services, explained NAVFAC architect Mike Gala, the checklist leader.

Working with the checklist becomes a collaborative process across many disciplines and people from architects and policy makers down to individual installation energy managers (IEMs) in the field implementing the projects.

"I'm helping focus their targets in the earliest phases of the projects so they can better allocate resources-dollars and technology-in the right direction," Gala said of the IEMs. "We need installation energy managers to help us define what the performance goal is and what that performance target is. This is that collaboration that is really necessary."

The energy checklist is composed of 15 different areas covering various aspects of buildings and systems including efficiency, data measurement and verification, fuel choices, and renewable energy sources, and is continually monitored throughout the life cycle of the project.

As goals are continually met and more are set for the future, Gala adapts the checklist as time passes to ensure it meets the changing needs in NDW. "It's an ongoing process and it's a live document, so as criteria changes, I'm updating the energy checklist," he said.

The checklist is not automatically used in every energy project, however. Depending on the scope and scale of an energy project, the checklist may not always be necessary, Gala explained.

Some smaller projects might only need to renovate certain key components within a building or system without necessitating the broader strokes of the checklist. The true power of the checklist, Gala said, is when architects and energy personnel are able to affect a broader range of projects, such as constructing all new infrastructure that incorporates LEED certifications.

"Our focus with the energy checklist is really high performance buildings," said Gala of smarter and more efficient structures.

That focus expands beyond simply building the framework and systems, and delves into the monitoring of the building's performance to help evaluate processes and adapt if necessary. While many of the smarter systems may cost more up front during construction, having the data to prove the eventual energy savings helps to justify the extra initial funding, Gala said.

"It's a very cyclical relationship," he noted.

After architects design the systems, the IEMs are the field-level experts in providing the data and feedback crucial to maintaining that relationship.

Having many different people involved in the collaborative process of the checklist is beneficial because it prevents "stove-piping" of people and resources into competing forces, Gala said.

While implementation often poses the biggest challenge, the checklist helps focus efforts and work toward the ultimate goal of building the NDW energy strategy.

"It's helping you navigate all those mandates and all those requirements in a multidiscipline approach," he said. "The ultimate goal is to reduce our energy footprint."

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