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Sometimes saving energy is as simple as installing a meter.

In the past, the U.S. Army facilities did not use meters to measure electricity or natural gas usage; rather, installations received one big energy bill that was not broken down by individual buildings. That situation started to change with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which requires metering in federal buildings by Oct. 1, 2012.

Energy-use studies have shown that by metering individual buildings, installations are able to identify which buildings are the biggest energy hogs and take appropriate measures to reduce energy consumption.

The Army Metering Program is installing advanced meters that report remotely to a central database accessible via the Engineering Knowledge Online website. The system will provide Army installations the capability to measure and track electricity, water, natural gas and steam consumption at the facility level. It is one way the Army is working to meet energy-reduction goals. The Army also requires the installation of advanced utility meters on all Military Construction projects and for renovation or energy projects with a programmed cost of $250,000 or more that include electrical, natural gas, water, or steam components.

The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center at Huntsville, Ala., is responsible for managing the execution of the metering and other energy programs for the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (OACSIM) and the Installation Management Command.

Potential Applications
Installation of advanced electric meters began in FY08 on facilities that were deemed cost effective to meter based upon Office of the Secretary of Defense criteria that state buildings that consume an estimated $35,000 annually in electrical costs are economically justified for metering. For Army planning and budgeting purposes, the $35,000 per year electrical cost equates to buildings of 29,000-ft2 and larger.

“This translates to approximately 6,700 Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard facilities to be metered at more than 480 sites worldwide,” said Lawson (Stan) Lee, Chief of the Facility Support Division, Huntsville Center. “Electricity, natural gas, water and steam or high-temperature water will all be metered. To determine the exact number of meters required, all installations are currently being surveyed in phases. The anticipated scope is a total of 13,000 advanced meters.”

By the end of FY09, the Army had installed advanced electric meters on 47 percent of facilities economically justified for metering, according to David Purcell, Army Energy Program Manager for OACSIM’s Facilities and Policy Division. This amounts to 3,151 out of 6,700 required by the end of FY12.

In December 2009, Huntsville Center awarded the contract for the Meter Data Management System that will receive meter readings from across the Army.

“Once implemented and certified networthy, Directorate of Public Works energy managers and anyone else with Army Knowledge Online access will be able to select among an extensive menu of number-crunching reports using almost real-time meter data for any and all metered facilities of interest,” Lee said. “Time of use, peak power demand, trending, comparisons of the energy consumption per square foot for similar facilities, correlation of meter readings with local weather data… the potential analytical applications are huge.”

Pilot Testing and Beyond
Pilot testing is scheduled at three installations: Fort Carson, Colo., Fort Lee, Va., and Fort Stewart, Ga., by October 2010, followed by Army-wide implementation, phased in accordance with the status of meter installation.

“Information from the pilot sites is being compiled so that a road map can be developed and implemented to demonstrate the Metering Data Management System (MDMS) proof of concept from smart meter readings,” said Jefferey Murrell, Metering Program Manager at the Huntsville Center.

The Army is ahead of schedule for its metering requirements, Purcell said. In FY08, $19.6 million was spent on advanced meters, and $2.8 million on the MDMS. As of July 2009, $14.5 million had been spent on meters and $3.2 million on MDMS for FY09.

OACSIM expects about $20 million to $25 million to be spent annual in FY10 through FY12 to complete the majority of the electric metering and a large percentage of the natural gas metering. Purcell also anticipates about $5 million to $7 million per year over the same period for MDMS, as well as $1 million to $2 million annually for operation and maintenance of the MDMS.

The estimated number of buildings determined to be cost effective to meter for natural gas is 2,200 based on experience, from which it was learned that 33 percent of buildings requiring electric meters also required natural gas meters. To date, 727 advanced natural gas meters have been installed, which equates to 33 percent completion and is ahead of schedule for the required gas metering completion date of Sept. 30, 2016. Costs for steam and water meter installation will be programmed in the FY12-FY17 Program Objective Memorandum.

“When the Army Metering Implementation Plan is completed, advanced electric meters will be metering more than 50 percent of total electrical consumption,” Purcell said. “This coverage will increase due to the meters being installed on MILCON and repair [and] renovation projects.”



Debra Valine is Chief of Public Affairs, U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville; POC is Jefferey Murrell at 256-895-1544, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.