This blog post was written by Randy Peacock, Facilities Operations Head and Energy Manager at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific. On Oct. 6, 2010, SSC Pacific received the highest award from the Secretary of the Navy for Energy and Water Management for Large Shore Activities, the SECNAV Award.
When I heard the news that we (Space and Naval Warfare System Center Pacific) had won the award, I was personally very excited. Looking back, it has been a long, hard road from when I was assigned back in 1992 as part-time energy manager. Not knowing anything about this new thing called energy conservation, I was, at the least, overwhelmed with the task at hand of learning all these new requirements from the president, Congress, Navy Headquarters and others. I needed to get some training to help me understand how energy worked so I could start understanding just what I was going to do. Like everyone else, I knew of energy, but I did not know much more than that. When I saw my first utility bill of over $12 million, and was told to start lowering the cost, it was a little frightening.
SSC Pacific occupies over 270 buildings and structures within 3,120,000 square feet of workspace and employs over 3,000 civilian and military personnel with the majority being engineers, scientists and technicians. The Command’s space and energy use is extremely diverse for a research, development and testing facility. The major consumers of energy are laboratory spaces with countless racks of computer servers that require a great deal of air conditioning. In addition to the major laboratory buildings with large footprints, there are hundreds of minor computer labs scattered throughout the SSC Pacific with spaces of less than 200 square feet. This diversity in location, size and building type presents a great challenge in controlling energy use and achieving energy reduction goals.
We were discouraged with our situation: we had no awareness, no metering, no way to monitor energy consumption and little guidance. Working with various experts in the field, we came up with a plan of action, but still needed to get support from management at the Command, which proved to be the hardest part because energy conservation was still a new field with new technology. After getting management’ s approval, we worked at getting meters installed, putting out energy awareness information to SSC Pacific personnel and creating software to monitor energy usage.
After years of increasing space from Base Realignment and Closure actions and reducing energy usage using various energy conservation projects, SSC Pacific has doubled in square feet of workspace size, but has reduced its energy usage by 50 percent. We have also gone from one part-time energy manager to an energy management team with full support and backing from the Command. We know for a command to be successful in reducing its energy costs, energy managers must have the full support of the command and staff to back its programs and projects. It was a great experience to see our efforts recognized by the Secretary of the Navy, and the award will certainly make our employees more aware of the importance in reducing energy costs.