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Sustainability Covenant fuels energy conservation

October 27, 2011

By Mr Mark Iacampo ( Hohenfels )

HOHENFELS, Germany -- One year ago, U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels made history by signing the first Sustainable Communities Partnership between the U.S. Army in Europe and a host nation.

"This covenant reflects the ongoing commitment between the military community and our host nation partners to work more closely in the areas of renewable energy, housing and quality of life, the education and care of our German workforce, and infrastructure and regional economic development," said Lt. Col. Kevin J. Quarles, U.S. Army Garrison Hohenfels commander.

Last year, Quarles had stated that one of the garrison's primary goals is to convert its energy production from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, and Hohenfels has made significant progress toward that end.

In the past 12 months alone, Hohenfels has reduced its overall energy consumption by nine percent, totaling more than 11 percent since 2003. Factoring in the rising costs of energy, this amounts to a savings of some two million dollars.

"We have several projects underway that will further reduce our utility bills," Quarles said.

One such project is the installation of roof-mounted photovoltaic systems on three buildings in the coming fiscal year. Photovoltaic is a method of converting solar energy into electricity.

"Solar energy produces thermal heat, and photovoltaic produces electricity. Currently we are executing a photovoltaic project on Bldg. 12 which will be completed by the end of November," explained Paul Hlawatsch, Energy Manager with the Directorate of Public Works. He added that two more buildings will be equipped with the photovoltaic system this fiscal year.

In addition, the Corps of Engineers will begin design of a combined heat / power co-generation plant (CHP) that will produce 30 percent of the garrison's total electric requirement.

"This unit is an engine which is natural gas fired and produces thermal heat and electricity," said Hlawatsch. Production should begin in FY 2012 with activation scheduled for 2013, he said.
Another ongoing project is the retrofitting of the garrison's street lamps with LED technology.

"This process reduces each lamp's energy demand from 142 kilowatts to 56KW," said Quarles. "With over 10,000 street lamps, this step alone will cut our overall demand by 20 percent."

LED bulbs also have a lifespan up to 30 times longer than the high-pressure sodium bulbs currently in use, significantly reducing maintenance costs, said Hlawatsch.

"Working on behalf of the county leadership, our Regina partners have been instrumental in the progress we have made," Quarles said.

"The county Neumarkt has experts in energy and we are trying to synchronize our experiences with their experiences and to take improvements from the areas where they've had good success and then to implement them here," said Hlawatsch.

"Now more than ever, the military community in Hohenfels needs the support of our neighbors, and we are thankful for the opportunity that this covenant provides for us to continue to increase our cooperation," said Quarles. "I am confident that next year we will be celebrating advances in our regional development, the educational and training opportunities for our existing workforce, and more planned construction projects."

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