DoD currently lacks a comprehensive approach for evaluating energy systems at the community scale that considers the integration of energy supply and demand to achieve optimized solutions for the entire community. The DoD installation planners address energy systems for new facilities and facilities undergoing renovation on an individual facility basis without consideration of energy sources, renewables, storage, or future generation needs. Taking a holistic approach for the entire installation enables DoD to identify synergistic energy solutions, with a long term outlook presented as a roadmap, that meet or exceed the energy reduction goals and at a lifecycle cost below that resulting from projects implemented through traditional methods. Identifying this savings opportunity for DoD, ESTCP funded a project that demonstrated a holistic energy master planning (EMP) concept and Net Zero Planner (NZP) tool at two defense installations, the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, NY and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY), Kittery, ME.

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) has developed the EMP concept and automated NZP tool for use in Installation Master Planning efforts. The EMP minimizes energy use at the building level, improves the efficiency of energy conversion and distribution, and uses energy from renewable sources to balance fossil fuel based energy to achieve installation energy goals. The NZP Tool incorporates the EMP concept and various automated modules to integrate optimization across buildings and their energy generation and distribution systems. Compared to the traditional manual methods of energy planning, the integration of the EMP concept with the NZP tool offers significant savings in time and cost and a high level of repeatability in an integrated single program structure.

Figure 1 illustrates the detailed steps in the EMP process. The scope of the EMP project can include residential, commercial and public buildings. The community can have fixed boundaries defined either by physical limitations (e.g., an island-based community) or political or administrative boundaries.

Figure 2: NZP tool

The NZP tool (Figure 2) is web-based and is currently only available to users accessing it through a *.mil domain address. It includes Geographic Information System (GIS) boundaries for all Army installations and a number of Navy and Air Force installations. The tool helps guide the energy master planning process and leads to a more repeatable and controlled development of the plan.

Figure 2: NZP tool

The demonstration was designed to test whether the implementation of the EMP concept and NZP tool together would reduce the time and cost of conducting energy planning in pursuit of DoD energy goals compared to the traditional method. The results showed that the investment cost and energy usage results and energy conserving recommendations made by the NZP method were similar to the traditional method for all of the scenarios, despite the differences in the process used in each method. In terms of cost, application of the NZP Tool costs only about 20% of the cost of the traditional manual method. Also, the speed of calculations and data rollup was faster in the NZP tool than in the traditional method. For instance, during demonstration at the USMA, the NZP tool took ~3 weeks to set up and run the models while the traditional method took about 3 months. And, once the models were created, it was considerably easier and less costly to make changes to the model and examine the results unlike the traditional method. The NZP tool also allows for customization for individual installations and provides an energy model of the installation that is accessible by the installation staff for further updating and use in identifying, developing, and reporting on current and future energy projects.

Additional details on the demonstration and results can be found in the Final Report posted on the project webpage.