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Air Force awards massive energy-saving project at Tinker

8/1/2012 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) -- Air Force leaders awarded an Energy Savings Performance Contract here Aug. 1.

Tinker Air Force Base is Oklahoma's largest single-site employer and the largest Air Force facility energy consumer.

"Upon completion, the project will reduce Tinker's energy intensity by 30 percent and save an estimated $6.4 million a year," said Rex Stanford, Tinker AFB's Energy Project manager.

The project is a joint effort between Tinker AFB, Honeywell, the Department of Energy, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency. The ESPC will improve energy efficiencies for 70 buildings, some dating to the 1940s, and save enough energy to power 12,424 average homes a year.

"One of our top priorities is reducing the size of our energy footprint, not only here at Tinker AFB but across the Air Force Sustainment Center," said Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Air Force Sustainment Center commander. "Pursuit of energy-saving initiatives is a factor in driving down the cost of sustaining weapons systems, which results in more capability per available dollar for our operational Air Force, and represents good stewardship of America's resources. This is a true win-win scenario."

"The Air Force is committed to transforming its energy posture," said the Air Force Civil Engineer Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers. "As such, I am pleased to see this Energy Savings Performance Contract project move forward. It's a win for taxpayers, a win for our private investment partners, and a win for Tinker and the Air Force."

ESPCs are an execution tool used by federal agencies to contract for energy conservation projects with no up-front cost to taxpayers. They are executed through an Energy Service Company that acquires financing for the infrastructure or equipment system modifications to reduce Air Force energy costs and consumption. The $80.7 million Tinker AFB ESPC will take a little more than 20 years to pay back using dollars saved through lower utility, operation and maintenance costs.

President Obama signed a memo in December 2011 directing "all federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two years at no up-front cost to the taxpayer." Large ESPC projects, like the one at Tinker AFB, are an example of the Air Force's effort to help the Department of Defense meet the president's goal. The Air Force has awarded 120 ESPCs since 1995.

The Air Force has reinvigorated the ESPC program in recent years, officials said. A proposed lighting ESPC at Lackland AFB, Texas, is under evaluation, and an ESPC that incorporates process energy savings in addition to facility energy savings is in the works at Hill AFB, Utah.

AFCESA is also working with Air Force communication experts on the first data center consolidation effort.

"Data centers can consume up to 200 times more electricity than standard office spaces," said Les Martin, ESPC program manager at AFCESA. "This makes them a big target for energy conservation efforts that can reduce electricity consumption and save money. Efficiencies can be found with upgraded heating and cooling systems, information technology power systems, storage devices and server consolidations."

The Air Force last awarded an ESPC project in 2009 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., with a capital investment of $48 million and annual energy savings of 37 percent. The project is nearly complete.

The Tinker AFB ESPC will take an estimated 33 months to complete. Stanford says impact to base personnel will be minimized.

"There will be new gas line installations across the base, which requires cutting pavement, so personnel should expect some lane closures and detours," said Stanford. "And there will be utility outages scheduled for nights and weekends when possible. We will not plan heating outages during freezing weather."

(Courtesy of Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency and 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs.)

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