You have to know where you are now to know where you are going. That’s the essence of Energy Information Management (EIM).
“EIM is all about delivering installations a clear energy picture of where they are now – how much energy are they producing and how much are they consuming down to an individual facility – so they can accurately determine the best courses of action to achieve future goals,” said John Trudell, the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville EIM program manager. “It also helps energy managers and installation leaders identify the most cost-effective targets of opportunity to improve efficiencies within limited budgets.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Huntsville Center is leading an effort to develop the Army’s energy information management standards and an Armywide implementation plan that identifies the optimal strategy to integrate, monitor and manage all the energy production and consumption activities on an installation. The goal is a single monitoring system for all of an installation’s separate systems where data can easily, timely and accurately flow upward.
The first step was a thorough review of the enterprise systems the Army uses to collect and manage energy information – the Army Energy and Water Reporting System (AEWRS), Meter Data Management System (MDMS), General Fund Enterprise Business Systems (GFEBS), Army Mapper enterprise geographic information system (GIS), Installation Status Report (ISR) and Headquarters Installation Information System (HQIIS) real property inventory. The Huntsville Center energy management team conducted a gap analysis of the six enterprise systems with the Army’s EIM working group, which includes the program managers for each of the systems, as well as representatives from the offices of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment and the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management Information Technology Directorate.
“We studied the various systems to see how they line up with the Office of the Secretary of Defense requirements,” Trudell said, citing a July 2012 capability requirements document that defines OSD’s vision for enterprise EIM. “We are designing a strategy to meet the OSD requirements, as well as the Army’s published Energy Security Implementation Strategy.”
With the analysis complete and leadership briefings being scheduled, the Huntsville Center energy management team is moving forward with developing an implementation strategy.
“We have the (OSD) vision statement that says we need to pull all this energy data together; we know where we need to go, and we are developing a plan for the Army at the lowest level – the installation – to make it happen,” Trudell said. “If we don’t have the information efficiently integrated at the bottom where the data comes from, it won’t be accurate data when it flows up and the Army won’t have the correct picture of energy use. So we have to start at the bottom to build it, and that’s what we are doing.”
Huntsville Center has installation pilot projects underway with Anniston Army Depot in Alabama and Tooele Army Depot in Utah. The Anniston garrison energy manager already has a great program, Trudell said, so the pilot is just expanding the current functionality by combining the depot’s building automation systems, maintenance work orders, GIS and project planning into a collective, installation-wide seamless automated EIM system. At Tooele, the team is starting with one system – not the entire installation – and then as the systems grow they will start adding them into the EIM network.
In addition, Huntsville Center is working on an operational energy project with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering Research Laboratory and the U.S. Army Logistics Innovation Agency to pilot a deployable metering monitoring system that collects data from forward-deployed units. The plug-and-play system is collecting data from a simulated forward operating base at Fort Leonard Wood’s Contingency Basing Integration Technology Evaluation Center in Missouri. It measures the power coming off their generators, fuel levels in storage tanks and fuel usage across the different facilities to see how energy is being used. It also helps forward-deployed Soldiers – who have very minimal energy training – understand how they are using their generators and ultimately use energy more efficiently, according to Trudell. More efficient fuel usage also translates to reduced transportation costs, as well as fewer convoys on the road in harm’s way.
“We’ve had a lot of installations express interest in working with us on EIM projects, but many don’t have the funding required to go back and integrate current systems,” Trudell said. He said the best option is often to incorporate the task of integration with current systems into the scope of work for new projects and tie systems together that way.
The entire Huntsville Center Energy Division staff is working together to ensure every project they are working on – regardless of the type and location – includes an EIM component in the scope of work, as well as the necessary communication network ties to the central monitoring systems and network accreditation (certificate of networthiness).
“We simply cannot go to an installation and hook everything up at one time; the systems will have to grow as the need grows and as new systems – such as new renewable energy systems – come online,” Trudell said. “We are not going to get to a 100 percent solution overnight, but with a solid plan – developed with energy managers and system experts at the installation level – we will get there.”