Solar Power Helps Fort Dix Meet Renewable Goals
Honeywell has installed two solar arrays at Fort Dix, NJ, a training and mobilization center for the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard. The solar installations are part of a $17.6-million program that will decrease energy consumption at the post by almost 10 percent and water use by more than five percent. The program, which includes a variety of energy-efficient facility and infrastructure upgrades, will help Fort Dix meet federal efficiency and renewable energy mandates, among other benefits.
One of the largest solar projects for the Army, the 3,200 photovoltaic panels that make up the arrays will generate approximately 815,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually — enough to power more than 75 homes per year. The arrays are mounted on the roofs of the Army Reserve 99th Regional Support Command Headquarters and the post’s Strategic Deployment Site Building, a temperature-controlled warehouse for equipment storage.
The panels will produce enough energy to meet nearly all the electricity needs of both facilities, with excess power distributed back onto the grid. They will also help the post meet renewable energy goals from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, mandating at least 7.5 percent of annual energy consumption at federal facilities comes from a renewable resource by end of 2013.
“In addition to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, the local power generation will provide enhanced operational capacity and security, since we will have a power source that is not tied to external supply,” said Dave Peckham, director of Public Works at Fort Dix.
Fort Dix will finance the entire program through energy and operational savings guaranteed by Honeywell under a performance contract with the Army, approximately $1.2 million per year for the next 20 years. This ensures the upgrades will not effect capital budgets or require additional taxpayer dollars. In addition, the program is expected to produce more than $20 million in excess savings for the post.
The work will also have a significant environmental impact, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 33 million pounds per year. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing 3,200 cars from the road.
“Environmental compliance requirements in New Jersey are some of the toughest in the nation,” Peckham said. “This program is helping us meet those requirements, and become more productive, efficient and sustainable.”
Along with the solar panels, Honeywell installed controls to optimize the cycling time and efficiency of natural gas boilers at more than 80 facilities, and replaced nine aging boilers at the Visiting Officers’ Quarters (VOQ) and Doughboy Inn with heat pumps and occupancy sensors in each room to reduce the use of heating and air-conditioning equipment.
Additional work included lighting upgrades, and expanding the post’s energy monitoring and control system to better match the heating and cooling delivery with the needs of the soldiers and civilian employees. As a result, energy costs will decrease, while working and training conditions improve.
Honeywell also modified the irrigation system at the golf course to use treated water from the post’s wastewater facility, which is expected to reduce annual water consumption by 29 million gallons. The company will provide onsite technicians as well to maintain optimal performance of the new equipment and building automation systems.
“There is such a range of energy-saving technologies that it can be difficult for organizations to know which to use given their unique situation,” said Kevin Madden, vice president of global sales for Honeywell Building Solutions. “Working with the leaders and energy experts at Fort Dix, we identified the retrofits and renewable energy source that would help the post meet its efficiency and climate targets, and provide the greatest return on investment.”
Since the 1980s, Honeywell completed more than 5,000 energy-efficiency projects in facilities across the globe, including recent work at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC and other Army posts. It also helped five million homeowners decrease their energy use through its work with utilities. These projects are expected to deliver more than $5 billion in energy and operational savings.