HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Attendees at the 2023 U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center Resource Efficiency Managers workshop received their marching orders to meet Department of Defense policy changes leveraging resources to mitigate carbon emissions and contribute towards net-zero goals.
More than 80 energy experts attended Huntsville Center’s REM workshop April 17-20 to ensure continuous professional development and focused training on state-of-the-art energy programs and initiatives while leveraging Huntsville Center reach-back capabilities through Huntsville Center energy experts.
The REMs are experts in finding ways to save energy and resources at the installations through utility billing audits, gathering energy rebates, conducting energy awareness programs, assisting with microgrid design, and developing resilient renewable energy projects. Each REM is contracted to military installations to support energy efficiency programs. REMs are also required to maintain a high level of energy related education and must be a certified energy manager.
During a briefing from Albert “Chip” Marin III, Huntsville Center’s Programs and Business Director, REMs were made aware of the changing energy landscape.
Marin spotlighted the Climate Smart Buildings Initiative which is expected to increase investments from performance contracts from a low of $251 million in 2021 to a sustained $1.2 billion per year by 2030. Marin said the DoD and the Army will carry a heavy load on the initiative.
Marin also pointed out policy directing 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity on a net annual basis by 2030, 100 percent zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035, a net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2032.
Marin told attendees that as technology is rapidly changing, REMs are expected to have a good handle on the technology to meet the increased number of energy regulations, policies, guidance and directives.
Solutions implemented must meet current and future needs and creative solutions will achieve the end state, Marin said.
Marin went on to explain to the workshop attendees how DOD policy on Electrification of Standard Building Operations, implemented March 2023, will impact their missions.
The policy calls for new military construction and major renovations not yet reaching design phase to include building design using all electric technology for system components. For existing buildings, implementation of all-electric technologies where market-ready technologies exist is mandatory.
“It’s a steep hill to climb and the objectives seem to get higher every day,” Marin said.
Marin then provided solutions for the REMS to succeed in meeting the new policy directives.
“You’re not an island…use the entire Army and DoD energy expert pool,” he said.
“Know your business and the policies around it and know your supporting USACE (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) District (and other) energy experts.”
To expand on new policies and how different agencies are implementing policy, John Trudell, Huntsville Center REM program manager and workshop organizer, invited several subject matter experts to provide attendees with information specific to their organizations.
Speakers included Christine Ploschke, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability, Matthew Haupt, Naval Facility Headquarters Energy Director, and Mary Sotos, Department of Energy Federal Energy Management Program Director.
Overviews of the Services’ programs helped attendees understand how the Services operate and the laws are translated into regulations, policies, and directives,” Trudell said.
“Understanding of the higher energy program helps the REMs understand their role in assisting the government meet the requirements.”
Trudell said DOE FEMP training that included case examples of “retuning” government buildings was extremely important to the attendees.
Re-tuning is a systematic process aimed at minimizing building energy consumption by identifying and correcting operational problems that plague buildings at no-cost or low-cost, said Kendall Kam, a DOE FEMP program manager.
“Re-tuning relies on building automation system data to identify and implement control improvements at no cost other than the time to program the changes” Kam said. “These low-cost or no-cost operational improvements ultimately improve the buildings' energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve occupant comfort.”
Kam also provided attendees with a presentation regarding 50001 Ready, the DOE program assisting agencies establish a formalized energy management program using a systems approach to managing energy and water while self-attesting to the implementation of an ISO 50001-based energy management system as encouraged in the Energy Act 2020.
Kam said because the USACE REM program has shown success from the REM work to assist government agencies meet the energy manadates and the savings generated from execution of REM-identified projects and energy conservation measures, many federal agencies contract with USACE to obtain REM services.
“The Federal Energy Management Program works with its stakeholders to enable federal agencies to meet energy-related goals, and to identify affordable solutions, facilitate public-private partnerships, and provide energy leadership to the country by identifying and leveraging government best practices,” Kam said.
“There is a synergy between FEMP's mission and USACE's REM program, and by providing training to USACE's REMs, FEMP can reach out to many federal agencies through the REMs.”