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U.S. Navy and NREL fight… for energy and cost savings

May 13, 2014 - Field demonstrations of energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, says the U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).


May 14, 2014
By Anthony Capkun

“DoD is the biggest energy user in the United States,” said NREL’s Steve Gorin, accounting for “80% of federal energy use, spending $19.4 billion on energy in 2011.”

In partnership with NREL, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) recently demonstrated eight technologies at installations in Hawaii and Guam, and the initial results have encouraged the Navy to move forward with broader implementation of several of the technologies.

In one instance, NREL identified plug-load controls and whole-building retrofits as good investments for the Navy. “Not only did this project validate performance of energy improvement technologies, it also encouraged them to replicate the successful technologies more broadly, substantially reducing energy costs and assisting the Navy in meeting energy efficiency goals,” said Gorin.

Advanced power strips were installed in 30 residences and an office building with capacity for roughly 100 staff. While plug-load savings depend on what can be turned Off and for how long, the demonstration identified measurable savings. In the office setting, the elimination of unnecessary nighttime and weekend plug-loads reduced overall plug-load use by 28% and lowered the entire building’s energy consumption by 8%, saving the Navy 15 MWh/year. Given the investment required, this office application will pay for itself in less than two years, says NREL.

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Savings also were achieved by implementing retrofits in eight demonstration homes. Efficient hot water heaters and air-conditioners, coupled with programmable thermostats and low-flow shower heads, saved an average of 4000 kWh in A/C use and 1400 kWh in water heating use per home. These projected energy savings are expected to repay the incrementally higher initial investment of the equipment in less than three years.

The plug-load and building retrofits were one component of the larger project that also addressed other efficiency measures, renewable energy generation and energy systems integration.