MILCON Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Study of Five Types of Army Buildings

D.M. Caprio and A.B. Soulek. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Washington, D.C. 2011.

This study investigated current building features and construction methods and materials that will optimize energy reduction and sustainability for new construction standard designs in FY2013. The standard designs were for the five most commonly constructed Army building types: unaccompanied enlisted personnel housing (barracks); tactical equipment maintenance facility; company operations facility (government office and other public assembly); brigade headquarters (government office and data center); and dining facility. Among the goals for the study were the following:

  • Determine the difference in initial investment or “first” cost of the proposed baseline buildings with energy enhancements to meet the energy and sustainability mandates as compared to the original baseline buildings without energy enhancement.
  • Determine compliance with the energy performance option of ASHRAE Standard 189.1.
  • Reduce both indoor and outdoor potable water usage.
  • Account for the impact on operations and maintenance by energy systems.
  • Comply with the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High-Performance and Sustainable Buildings.

The selected standard designs were required to meet all applicable energy reduction and sustainable design mandates (e.g., LEED Silver, Energy Policy Act of 2005, EISA 2007, and Executive Orders 13423 and 13514). The requirements were to “optimize the mission, function, quality, and cost” of each building design type. The baseline designs were amended and supplemented to include antiterrorism and force protection and select Department of Defense Unified Security Criteria, among other factors, and the designs were evaluated for full mission scope and full energy and sustainability compliance.

The authors noted difficulties in establishing a clearly defined baseline for determining energy performance because “these buildings do not have equivalent building categories within CBECS” and because of initial confusion over the different energy baselines found in ASHRAE standards (modeled building energy), and Section 433 of EISA 2007, which is based on measured building and plug load energy (p. v).

Energy simulations were completed using Energy Plus version 5.0 (DOE, 2010). Each energy-efficiency measure (EEM) was modeled independently; packages of energy-efficiency improvements were also modeled because the savings from each individual measure are not additive (p. 3). EEMs were modeled for each building type across 15 locations representative of the climate zones that serve as the basis for the development of ASHRAE standards.

The authors note that “the study was able to show the energy effectiveness of a range of efficiency measures, but it was not able to show the cost effectiveness of individual measures, nor was it able to optimize the designs for the highest energy performance at the lowest costs. This typically is done early in the design phase.” The results were based on total energy use as opposed to the fossil-fuel-based portion of total energy use alone (p. 1).

Among the study conclusions were the following:

  • Significant energy savings are possible for all climates.
  • Cost increases for the recommended Low Energy Packages for the five building types ranged from 2 to 10 percent, with a high of 28 percent.

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