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Leading the Transition to Clean Energy


The Federal government is the largest single user of energy in the United States. In 1991 the government used about 1.5 quadrillion BTUs of energy, equal to approximately 2% of total U.S. energy consumption. Since estimates of potential energy savings from federally-controlled buildings and facilities range from 25-40%, the U.S. Department of Energy developed the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) which was supported by an executive order which called for a 5% reduction in 1985 levels of federal energy use and a 10% reduction in 1995 levels of energy use by the year 2000.

The Fort Lewis Electric Efficiency Retrofit program has sprung forth from this backdrop as one of the FEMP’s flagship efforts. Largely carried out by the staff at Tacoma Public Utilities and at the Fort Lewis installation and supported by funding from the Bonneville Power Administration, this base-wide retrofit presents itself as a unique opportunity for significant U.S. taxpayer savings . Not only will a single utility customer provide large levels of savings, but a template has been developed for similar, subsequent , military retrofits.

Fort Lewis, Washington is essentially a small city "inhabited" by 25,000 permanent residents and 35,000 daytime residents. The "city" contains 4,450 buildings with a total floorspace of 23.9 million square feet. The majority of the total footage makes ups barracks and offices; the balance of area is made up of a wide mix of uses including chapels, libraries, restaurants, hangers, and garages. By retrofitting the entire facility in discrete projects, electricity consumption is projected to be cut by 21% resulting in annual energy savings of 44,000 MWh.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the project is the cooperation that has been developed between a number of key players. Fort Lewis stands ready and willing to assure persistence of measures installed and will repay 15% of the cost of the entire retrofit over time. Tacoma Public Utilities is coordinating the project and is financing all the project’s costs up-front but will be repaid by the Fort and through Bonneville Power Administration’s Targeted Acquisition Program, resulting in a zero net project cost to Tacoma over time. Finally, the actual implementation is being conducted by an energy service company that will provide metered results for a subset of representative building types.

This profile presents the foundation for the Fort Lewis Electric Efficiency Retrofit project and its status. After several years of planning retrofits are now underway. To date four "energy conservation projects" involving 59 buildings are now complete. These four projects represent annual energy savings of 3,932 MWh (9% of the entire base’s estimated savings) and costs of $1,536,800, approximately 6% of the total planned retrofit cost at Fort Lewis.




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