By Patrick Gordon
NSAW Public Affairs Office
The Great Green Fleet (GGF), the Department of the Navy’s year-long initiative to demonstrate the sea service’s efforts to transform energy use, is underway across the fleet. Shore installations, too, are doing their part in GGF activities, and Naval Support Activity Washington (NSAW) is no different.
But while many GGF initiatives highlight alternative energy sources such as solar and biofuels, one of NSAW’s approaches is using existing energy sources more efficiently through constant monitoring. Simply put, if you can see where energy may be potentially wasted, you can prevent that waste from happening.
To complete this task NSAW relies on the SmartGrid. Located in the Shore Operations Center (ShOC) at the Washington Navy Yard, SmartGrid serves as a one stop shop for energy monitoring throughout the installation.
“SmartGrid is essentially the culmination of technology and processes that bring systems together to a relative central location,” said Patrick Connor, Facilities and Energy Operations Cell manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington. “The grid itself can be viewed in various places, but our process here is to bring all the grid information to one spot.”
Connor explained that the SmartGrid technology monitors certain equipment installed in installation buildings, such as air conditioning systems, heating systems, chillers, and air handlers. The information on when and how these and other assets are in use is collected through SmartGrid monitors and sent back to the ShOC at NSAW to be analyzed. If an asset is malfunctioning or can be used more efficiently, personnel in the ShOC can identify it in real time and address the issue to prevent energy waste.
“For example, if we come across a building today that is not economizing, we can reprogram the system to make it economize and save energy,” said Connor. “When it’s 55 degrees outside that might seem cool to us, but if that’s the temperature at which the air handler discharges air, we can take advantage of the outside temperature and we don’t need the chiller mechanically cooling at that time thereby saving electrical energy.”
While monitoring installation assets like building heating and cooling may seem small in relation to the rest of the fleet, energy conservation can pay big dividends to the Navy in the long run. The Navy Energy Strategy, available at http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/energy/, addresses shore installations like NSAW directly by the way they promote sustainability, stating “increasing the use of environmentally responsible technologies afloat and ashore reduces greenhouse gas emissions and lessens dependence on fossil fuels, creating a sustainable model for national defense.”
The Navy Energy Strategy goes on to explain how things like alternative energy and efficient energy usage can improve combat capability by “optimizing energy use is a force multiplier that can increase range, endurance, and payload.” It also lists how efficient energy usage can keep personnel in the fleet safer by requiring fewer fuel convoys, reducing “the amount of time our ships are tied to oilers at sea, saving lives, time, and money.”
In essence, the more the Navy can use energy efficiently, the less it has to rely on outside sources to complete its mission. And to know how energy is being used it must be monitored.
“The primary reason is performance,” said Connor.
To learn more about the Navy’s Great Green Fleet, visit the GGF page at http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/energy/great-green-fleet/.
For more information on Naval Support Activity Washington, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NavalSupportActivityWashington, or our CNIC page at http://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/ndw/installations/nsa_washington.html.