After two years of cost-effective modernization of its energy infrastructure, Tinker Air Force Base dropped from first to fourth place in Air Force energy consumption.
It’s been almost four years since Tinker began looking at ways to reduce its status as the highest energy consuming installation in the Air Force and since then the base has made remarkable strides in modernizing key areas of its energy infrastructure, according to OC-ALC Energy Manager Joseph Cecrle.
“This project is the largest energy-savings performance project the Air Force has pursued,” Cecrle said. “We are doing state-of-the-art repairs and one of our goals with this program is bringing these buildings to state-of-the-art capability and operations.”
The joint project began in 2017 as part of a $243 million contract with Honeywell to modernize the infrastructure of more than 50 structures on base. The contract, the largest energy-saving performance contract in Air Force history, has been projected to reduce energy consumption by 23% and save the base an average of $20 million in energy and operational costs each year.
So far, Cecrle said the contract is meeting the anticipated energy-saving goals as projected and in some areas exceeded them. Overall, during the course of the contract’s 21-year lifetime, it is anticipated it will save Tinker more than $626 million in operational and energy costs.
The joint project includes Honeywell, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy. One of the most significant measures of the contract has been the incorporation of Honeywell’s Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) building management system that manages and controls heating, cooling and metering equipment.
Through an intuitive program, Honeywell’s EBI system allows for the monitoring of equipment and energy sources throughout the entire base. Users can see exactly which machines are operating and choose to power them off, reduce energy consumption if the option is available and see basic maintenance details.
“This has been a game-changer in terms of monitoring systems across base,” Cecrle said. “It’s still a new system we are adapting to and integrating more systems on, but this will allow us to see what is going on in real-time and making energy saving decisions quickly.”
Along with the EBI, other measures for cost-reduction have included replacing the lighting in Building 3001 with energy-efficient lightbulbs; transforming processes that require steam heating to electric heating; the replacement and modernization of boilers and water coolers; and replacing the motors for some equipment with energy-efficient motors that operators can choose to operate at different power levels based on the needs of the operation.
“We’ve already seen some substantial cost reduction in key areas and much of it has been through basic modernization,” Cecrle said. “Even something as basic as introducing cost-effective lighting is a significant energy reducing measure on base when you have the second and third largest buildings under the Department of Defense, Bldg. 9001 and Bldg. 3001.”
The project is currently almost 90% completed and will impact more than 50 structures across Tinker. With such progress made in a short amount of time, Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing commander, said that Tinker is setting a standard in cost-effective modernization.
“This is the kind of innovative and cost-effective work that we celebrate at Tinker,” Filcek said. “I see modernizing our energy infrastructure as a critical component of modernizing our combat readiness, and the work done through OC-ALC has truly impacted that in a major way.”