October is Energy Awareness Month, which is a great opportunity to share ways to conserve resources and to implement a viable energy program. The Fort Hood Energy Management Branch is continuing efforts to incorporate energy resiliency and security on the installation. 

There are several projects in the works like a battery energy storage system and microgrid.

Bobby Lynn, chief of the Energy Management Branch, explained the projects are a win-win for the environment, the Fort Hood community and the Army.

“Managing Fort Hood’s energy and resources to optimize the installation’s energy performance is an important mission,” Lynn said. “Our team leverages innovative technologies, best practices and processes, which serve as a model for the Army and other military installations.”

Lynn and his team are conserving energy with their net zero energy facility. The concept is to produce as much energy as it uses over the course of a year. Featuring LED lights with occupancy sensors, energy efficient attic and wall insulation, and a solar photovoltaic roof system, which provided over 90 percent of the required power for the facility and remaining power generated, was provided back to the local distribution system. A new addition to the facility will be the battery energy storage system to tie it into the grid and current solar photovoltaic roof system.

“Typically an electricity grid is an interconnected network delivering power from suppliers to consumers,” Lynn said. “But with this system, we can store that power for emergency critical loads to create a microgrid.”

A microgrid isolates power from the larger grid by islanding and serving its own load, when the main grid is down. Creating a microgrid for critical facilities at Robert Gray Army Airfield is another project the energy team is working.

“If a large power outage hit the airport, it could shut down operations and have significant impacts to mission readiness,” Lynn said. “But by creating a microgrid, we can enhance local resiliency and continue to support airport operations.”

The microgrid will be designed and installed with cybersecurity features and will include renewable energy, battery store and backup generators.

Lynn also encourages the Fort Hood community to do its part to help energy conservation goals by being a part of the solution and fostering wise energy attitudes, behaviors, and organizational decisions.

“Take time to review your daily routine to conserve energy, empower others to take action, and join together to save energy and money,” he said. “The smallest effort to save energy, from turning off lights to setting the thermostat a few degrees higher during warm weather and lower during cold weather, can reduce costs drastically.”

Fort Hood’s electric bill is one of the highest costs on the installation, with millions of dollars spent annually. Every penny in energy savings counts and adds up on Fort Hood. More money saved in energy means more money to use for other initiatives, such as maintaining buildings and roads.

“As a community, we can take action every day to reduce our energy footprint,” Lynn said.

For information about energy conservation, call 287-SAVE.

Help conserve energy by following these simple tips at home and at work:

Use a programmable air-conditioning thermostat and adjust the thermostat during overnight hours or when no one is at work to reduce the cooling costs. To reduce energy consumption, set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher, and remember to keep the doors and windows closed. At the end of the work day or if the space is unoccupied, set the thermostat to 85 degrees.

Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights whenever possible. Using CFLs instead of comparable incandescent bulbs can save about 50 percent on lighting costs. These CFLs only use one-fourth the energy and last up to 10 times longer.

Switch off all unnecessary lights in places such as conference rooms, restrooms, and storage rooms. Use dimmers, motion sensors or occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when not in use.

Use natural lighting, especially when working in the motor pools. When feasible, turn off lights near windows.

Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use such as cell phone chargers, fans, coffeemakers, microwaves and radios.

Close or adjust window blinds to block direct sunlight to reduce cooling needs during warm months.