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CES, Andersen to lead with high-tech innovation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Miranda Moorer
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
"For this to be such a small base it is amazing that we rank almost number one in PACAF for energy costs, but through metering we can save the Air Force a million bucks!" 

This is what Gary D. Exon, Andersen's Resource Efficiency Manager, had to say when referring to the 36th Civil Engineer Squadron's current project aimed at lowering energy-related expenses. The solution he spoke of was an innovative electronic meter that monitors electricity usage of individual Andersen buildings. 

Until recently, most federal buildings, including Andersen, were not being monitored individually. 

That meant, according to Exon, Andersen had one big electric bill with no way of pinpointing exact locations for energy waste and, ultimately, no way of correcting energy consumption problems. 

Additionally, the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a set of guidelines developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, requires all federal agencies to install advanced metering where it is found to be cost effective. 

Mr. Exon teamed up with Captain Brian Brasher and Major James Cosler roughly three years ago to take on the task of meeting Act directives. 

While transforming Andersen into a base that monitors individual buildings on an hourly basis may seem like a difficult task, the Civil Engineer Squadron has already made tremendous strides towards the goals of efficiency and federal agency cost saving. 

CE is currently installing advanced metering systems that gather low-cost advanced meter reads. Through these metering reports Andersen will be able to identify abnormal energy consumption in specific areas, improve outage detection and identify energy theft and meter tampering. 

The information gathered from these systems is sent to one of the two collection units on Andersen that are Web hosted to read individual systems. Through Andersen's Fixed Network, any engineer can access electric consumption readings and tamper status information. 

"The next steps will include metering individual base housing units," says Mr. Exon.
One big energy guzzler is possible defective air-conditioning units in base housing. "With the humidity here, it is necessary to always have air conditioners running, even in vacant homes," Exon said, alluding to the potential for mold build-up here. 

"The only way to correct the problem is to equip Andersen with the capability of identifying where the problem areas are." 

Exon reassured those concerned that measuring individual homes' usage is one step closer to charging residents for electricity. 

"People are afraid that with this project they'll have to come out of pocket, but this is not the case at all," says Exon. "The goal with this project is to ensure that we are not being overcharged for energy like we have been in the past." 

Although the new metering system alone is a huge change for Andersen, it will take improved energy management, strategic application and operation of the meters, and the implementation of corrective procedures using the data collected to increase efficiency and lower energy costs. To fulfill these needs, the CE's Electric shop, Utility shop and Heating Ventilation and Air Condition shop will soon be fully trained on reading and maintaining the meters. 

The projected completion for this project is scheduled for September when 90 more meters will be installed on Andersen, totaling 130 meters.