Projects to Reduce Energy Usage at Selfridge

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- The installation of highly-efficient energy control systems and meters is expected to result in dividends at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

"These projects will help reduce our energy consumption, which ultimately saves the taxpayer money," said Steve Krajnik, energy manager for the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard, the host unit at the base.

Smart meters are being installed on 36 buildings around the base and direct digital control systems are being installed in 32 buildings. The smart meter installation project is expected to be completed in February and the DDC work has a completion date in October, both in 2012.

Smart meters are a highly-accurate meter which allow for better monitoring and mapping of energy usage for heating, cooling lighting and water consumption. The use of the meters allows technicians to fine tune certain operations to minimize energy consumption during peak usage times.

The DDC is a hyper-efficient thermostat which also allows for remote monitoring, allowing a technician at one central location to monitor energy usage in multiple locations at once.

Shannon Hulswit, who works on energy management for Selfridge, said in addition to the savings realized by the reduction in energy consumption, the base will be eligible for utility rebates from the utility companies for making these upgrades. Based on the size of the projects, the base could be eligible for rebates in excess of $100,000.

"These systems will provide for greater control over our energy usage," she said. "The potential savings and rebate are significant."

The Air Force has been increasingly making the move to green technologies and seeking ways to conserve energy in recent years. The Air Force Energy Policy revolves around three central pillars - "Reduce Consumption," "Increase Supply," and "Change the Culture." The smart meters and DDC project will allow Selfridge to make strides in the "Reduce Consumption" category.

Under Air Force policy, all energy efficiency efforts must have a maximum of a 10-year return, meaning that the costs of the new systems and equipment must be equaled in energy savings over no more than 10 years. The total cost of the DDC and smart meters projects is about $4.3 million. Hulswit said the savings should easily be realized within the 10-year target - not counting any potential rebate.

"The smart meters and DDC are just two of the many avenues we are exploring to be the best possible steward of our resources," she said.