OC-ALC reduces energy use while increasing output

  • Published
  • By Paul Shirk

Imagine cutting your heating or electric bill by 50%. The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex is on track to do that, meeting its goal of reducing energy consumption by 50% from its 2015 baseline.

Current energy consumption has been reduced 35% compared with 2015, with work continuing to meet the goal.

“Fifty percent is our stretch goal,” said Joseph Cecrle, OC-ALC energy manager. “We blew past our original 25% goal a long time ago.”

Cecrle developed a two-pronged path to these savings. The first prong was a type of contract known as an energy savings performance contract. It uses third party financing to improve ALC facilities and systems.

“The contractor identified the projects where they would guarantee us energy cost savings,” Cecrle said. “Then they brought in the financing, the specialists, and the hardware itself. Now they are monitoring and maintaining those systems to make sure they continue to perform over the 20 years of the contract.”

The contractor is paid back out of the energy cost savings that the ALC sees each month.

The second prong of Cecrle’s strategy was to implement a formal energy management system. Such a system mandates reporting energy performance at all levels up to the OC-ALC Commander. It also requires the consideration of energy in procurement, design, and maintenance activities.

The OC-ALC was the first federal facility to be certified to ISO 50001 for strategic energy management in 2017. The International Organization for Standardization, a nongovernmental group composed of 162 national standards bodies, sets the certification standards for energy management practices.

“Our ISO 50001 Energy Management System gave energy visibility within the ALC that it had not had before,” Cecrle said. “It made energy performance improvement part of what we do.”

Cecrle chose to focus energy management activities on implementing changes in ALC procedures and processes that did not require new hardware to realize energy savings.

“We’re identifying places where we can match resources, for example steam or chilled water, to the current demand by the production groups. This enables us to improve energy performance on the system level by 25 to 30%.”

Cecrle added, “This is at no cost! And the lower throttle levels are reducing maintenance demand as well.”

A recent example was found in the 76th Maintenance Support Group’s compressor shop. The air compressor bank provides massive amounts of compressed air to CMXG’s Air Accessories Maintenance Facility next door. It is the largest compressed air user across all of Tinker.

“Patrick Duff, who was a MXSG Building supervisor at the time, suggested we tailor compressed air production to the anticipated schedule on the other side of the wall in CMXG’s air accessory maintenance operation,” Cecrle said. “When we asked how to do this, Duff said, ‘Why don’t we just make a phone call once a day to find out what the schedule is.’”

Duff ultimately implemented a “phone call protocol” that improved energy performance by 50% and saved the ALC $20,000 to $40,000 per month in electric bills. These savings will continue forever because Duff incorporated the phone call protocol into the work control documents for the facility.

“This is real energy management,” Cecrle said. “And these kinds of improvements will become even more critical as we work to make the ALC more energy resilient.”

Cecrle emphasized that they are always looking for new places to focus. Personnel who know where the OC-ALC can better match the provision of steam, chilled water, compressed air, or hot water to actual production group demand, are encouraged to let the energy team know by emailing OCALC.Energy.Assurance@us.af.mil.