By Chatney Auger, Naval District Washington Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Energy conservation continues to be one of the Navy's top priorities and has become a national security issue. To meet the energy challenges of today and tomorrow, Naval District Washington (NDW) is employing several new energy initiatives including the NetZero pilot demonstration project.
A NetZero installation is one that produces as much energy as it uses over the period of a given year which equals to the installation's energy demand. The goal is to have a facility that demonstrates this capability. And by February 2012, NDW hopes to complete the NetZero pilot demonstration project to meet the Navy's energy goal of increasing alternative energy ashore by achieving net-zero energy use in 50 percent of Navy installations by 2020.
"Facilities that can produce energy from the sun and or wind help with reducing environmental pollution associated with traditional methods of producing energy," said Energy Manager Nery Duron-Licona of Naval Support Activity Washington (NSAW). "As wind and solar technologies improve the reliability of wind and solar sources of energy, there will be an increased interest in NetZero buildings."
The intent of the NetZero demonstration project at the Washington Navy Yard's Visitors Center is to show that it is feasible for a facility to be energy efficient. The Visitors Center "was selected because of its small size, condition and visibility," said David Capozzoli, utility product line coordinator of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington.
"During the design development, the building had an oversized and poorly functioning heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system and the project is actually correcting problems in the building as well as improving its energy efficiency."
Achieving NetZero will require two stages and one of them is improving the efficiency of all energy using systems and getting them upgraded to the latest and most efficient technologies. For instance, the lighting system is being upgraded to LED lighting; the existing heating and cooling systems are being upgraded with a geothermal pump system; and the exterior walls, windows and roofing are being re-insulated and the windows are being replaced with electro-chromic windows.
"All of these existing systems upgrades use less energy," said Duron-Licona. "And these improvements will considerably lessen the building's energy demand and still meet lighting, heating and cooling needs."
With the help of energy generating equipment, a combination of solar and wind generation, ultimately the visitors center will generate enough on-site energy to meet its energy demand.
Once the demonstration is successfully completed, an energy dashboard will be on display to provide real-time energy data to promote awareness to employees and visitors on how much energy the facility is conserving.
There is a NetZero installation study underway in the region to identify potential installations as candidates for the NetZero project. With the NetZero project and other smart energy initiatives, NDW is moving toward more efficient and cost effective installations with an eye on increasing alternative energy.
The Navy and the Department of Defense comply with building sustainability targets set out by Executive Order 13423 and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus' energy goals. Bases and facilities will be required by 2015 to produce at least half of all shore based energy requirements through the use of renewable sources, including wind, ocean and solar; and, by 2020, use alternative sources to provide 40 percent of the Navy's total energy consumption.
This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps which will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the Secretary Ray Mabus' energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence, and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.