By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Things around base are looking a little more green as the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron completes multiple energy saving projects around Peterson Air Force Base.
According to Randy Pieper, 21st CES resource efficiency manager, in 2010 the Command Energy Management Steering Group developed a plan to ensure that Air Force Space Command met Air Force goals for increasing energy efficiency in Building 1, the Hartinger Building, reduce infrastructure costs by 20 percent by 2020, reduce facility energy intensity 30 percent by 2015, reduce facility water intensity 16 percent by 2015, and increase use of renewable energy to 25 percent of total consumption by 2025.
To help AFSPC meet that goal, the 21st CES designed a series of projects that would increase energy efficiency and cut operations and maintenance costs. These projects have been so successful that the Hartinger Building has been designated as part of AFSPC’s 11-point road map in the command’s energy conservation strategy.
According to Pieper, the building was also recently submitted to the Department of Energy for the Better Buildings Federal Award.
“This is an award that recognizes individual buildings that have innovative technologies or significant energy reduction,” he said. “The building has been designated to be the ‘model’ for the command.”
Lights, computers and people all create a lot of extra heat in the building. Most of the time this heat goes into the atmosphere as wasted energy. To help reuse the heat that would otherwise be waste, a water-to-water heat pump was installed in the building.
“Heat pumps use electricity via refrigeration compressors to ‘pump’ heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional water heaters,” Pieper said.
Before the pump was installed, the chilled water system took heat out of the building and transferred it to the outside as exhaust. Now, the heat is moved to areas of the building with fewer people and computers that tend to be cooler, which will save an anticipated $22,000 in heating costs.
The 21st CES also increased the efficiency of the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and Non-Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNet) server rooms primary heating ventilation and air conditioning system.
“It’s not surprising that server racks are very energy intense,” Pieper said.
Having the server rooms, which tend to be very warm, on a separate HVAC system will increase the overall efficiency of the system.
The 21st CES just awarded a project to modify the chilled water system so that the server rooms are independent from the building HVAC system. They will also be adding a “dry cooler” to provide cooling during cold months without running the air conditioning compressor.
“This reduces the cooling load on the main chilled water system,” Pieper said.
Another measure the 21st CES put in place to improve the heating system in the Hartinger Building includes three existing boilers being replaced with two high efficiency condensing boilers.
“Condensing boilers allow us to lower the hot water temperature for the heating system so only the heat that is required in the building is provided,” Pieper said.
According to Pieper, the new boilers are 92 percent efficient, compared to the previous boilers that were about 83 percent efficient.
The 21st CES is also currently replacing the interior lights in the Hartinger Building with new light-emitting diode fixtures.
Pieper said the new LED lights use 46 percent less electricity than the old lights.
In addition to the multitude of energy saving projects in the Hartinger Building, the 21st CES also installed 24 new solar panels at the Peterson Aquatics Center.
The solar panels are used to help heat the approximately 225,000 gallons of water in the pool, Pieper said.
To aid the solar panels, the 21st CES also installed a heat recovery system to take the warm air from the building and heat recovered from the building’s air conditioning system to heat the water.
“Since August, the energy used to heat the pool has dropped by nearly 60 percent,” Pieper said.
Sun shades were also installed in the children’s pool area to prevent the building from getting as hot, and to use less air conditioning.
Temperatures in the children’s pool area dropped about 15-20 degrees compared to previous summers, Pieper said.
All these changes are designed to help the Air Force meet Department of Defense energy reduction goals.