A Blue Angels jet flies over NAS Pensacola. (U.S. Navy/Special to The Pulse)

Energy-efficient upgrades planned at NAS Pensacola

A new round of energy efficiency upgrades coming to Naval Air Station Pensacola could save the base millions of dollars in energy costs each year.

Navy officials have awarded a $31.5 million utility energy service contract, or UESC, to Pensacola Energy — the natural gas company owned by the City of Pensacola. While many of the upgrades don’t relate directly to natural gas, UESCs are limited-source contracts which must be awarded to franchised utilities like Pensacola Energy. Much of the work will be performed by subcontractors.

Under the contract, 43 buildings aboard NAS Pensacola will receive various energy conservation upgrades, including the conversion of interior and exterior lighting to LED fixtures, water conservation measures, chiller plant improvements, and building envelope improvements.

“This project improves on the culture of energy conversation at NAS Pensacola, reinforcing our commitment to good stewardship of the environment, gaining efficiencies in our infrastructure, and reducing energy consumption by 10 percent over our 2015 baseline,” said NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Martin.

The upgrades are projected to save NAS Pensacola more than 98,000 million British thermal units and approximately 82.2 million gallons of water annually, said NAS Pensacola Installation Energy Manager Sabrina Williams. “That equates to about $2.9 million annually in combined energy and water savings,” Williams said.

Much of the savings will be due to the contract’s systematic process of ensuring all energy conservation measures achieve facility performance and utilize new technology, officials said. The project will bring a number of heating, ventilation and cooling advances to NAS Pensacola, including the installation of new chillers, variable frequency drives, and chilled water pumps.

“The energy managers and project teams on both sides have developed a tremendous project that greatly increases the efficiencies of our building systems, reducing our overall energy consumption,” said NAS Pensacola Public Works Officer Cmdr. Brent Paul. “We had to get creative in recent years as budgets tightened, and this utilization of private financing is another tool we have in our tool box to execute necessary facility improvements and achieve our energy reduction goals.”

The project falls under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and supports President Barack Obama’s 2011 announcement of a $4 billion investment in energy upgrades to federal and private sector buildings. That investment included a $2 billion commitment to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long-term energy savings to pay for upfront costs at no cost to taxpayers.

The energy efficiency project is expected to be completed by November 2018.