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Energy conservation projects announced, AF awarded most in DOD

  • Published
  • By Kevin Elliott
  • Air Force Civil Engineer Center Public Affairs
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) recently announced Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP) projects it will fund for fiscal year 2016. The Air Force was awarded nearly half of them, more than any other Defense Department agency.

Of the 33 energy conservation or production projects awarded, the Air Force garnered 15, capturing $44 million of the $150 million available ECIP funds for the year. The Army was awarded seven projects, the Navy five and the Marine Corps two.

"We normally see funding in the $35 million range," said John Byrnes, the ECIP program manager at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center. "This is the best year the Air Force ECIP program has ever had, both in terms of number of projects and total programmed cost."

Air Force projects selected include 12 energy and one water conservation, and two renewable energy production. They range across installations in six U.S. states including Alaska, as well as Ascension Auxiliary Airfield in the South Atlantic Ocean and Wake Island Airfield.

"Direct investment in energy and water conservation, and renewable energy projects through programs like ECIP, versus third-party financed investment, are the most effective way to achieve Air Force energy goals as well as true cost avoidance," said Ken Gleason, the AFCEC Energy Program Development Division chief. "That's because when we invest directly, we avoid the added costs of financing our energy projects."

The average savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) of selected Air Force projects is 2.0. ECIP projects are required by OSD to have a SIR of at least one to be considered. SIR is calculated by dividing the total discounted dollar savings of projects, including energy dollar savings and non-energy dollar savings, by the total investment cost. The higher the SIR, the more return on investment for the Air Force.

ECIP is a subset of the DOD-wide military construction program, which is designed to fund smaller-scale projects that generally run from $750,000 to $20 million each. The projects are designed to save energy or water, produce energy or generally reduce the DOD's energy costs. ECIP supports construction of new, high-efficiency energy systems and the improvement and modernization of existing ones. However, ECIP projects are not included in the Air Force integrated priority list, or IPL, because they are not mission critical, anti-terrorist force protection or environmental projects. Project selection is based purely on economics - whether or not it will save money for the Air Force.

The scoring model OSD uses for selecting viable projects was a large factor in the high percentage of Air Force projects awarded, Gleason said.

"We work hard to put forward the best projects we can," he said. "This year, ours competed well. It's a great result."