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GSA Helps Army Attain Net Zero Energy

WASHINGTON – The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) released a report today designed to help the Army attain net zero energy (NZE) through employing high-impact energy efficiency strategies. This new report presents the findings of a green building demonstration project completed at Fort Carson, a historic 72-year-old Army base near Colorado Springs, Colo. As a flagship in the Army's Net Zero Initiative, Fort Carson has set a net zero energy goal for the entire base by the year 2020, which means that the base – home to approximately 900 buildings equaling about 14-million square feet of real property – will need to generate as much energy as it consumes by the goal year.

As part of GSA’s mission to green the federal government, the agency conducted the study in partnership with Fort Carson, the Army, the Department of Energy, and two national laboratories. In this study, GSA analyzed cost-effective, high-impact energy efficiency strategies that Fort Carson could employ to help the base achieve NZE, which included strategies that involved improving building systems and working with building occupants. Many of the findings are applicable to other agencies and organizations as well.

Green Building Demonstration Project at Fort Carson

  • Studying six different Army building types, GSA identified four areas of opportunity to help Fort Carson achieve energy efficiency breakthroughs: thermal envelope optimization, daylighting and lighting system performance, NZE building system retrofit strategies, and occupant behavior. Building system strategies were evaluated and prioritized based on their payoff over the lifetime of the buildings.

Green Buildings at Fort Carson

  • Fort Carson has constructed more than 70 LEED-certified green buildings on base, which have contributed to a 17 percent decrease in energy use per square foot since 2003.
  • The base has also installed solar panels, solar hot water heaters, and ground source heat pumps, which have helped to increase the share of Fort Carson’s energy use provided by renewable sources to 3.5 percent, and growing.

GSA Senior Sustainability Officer Ruth Cox said the study demonstrates that net zero energy federal facilities are possible, and can be achieved affordably over the lifetime of these facilities: “GSA is proud to partner with Fort Carson to help the base achieve its 2020 net zero energy goal. The agency will continue its energy and environmental performance research at other federal facilities to gain the highest return for taxpayers, reduce energy use, and mitigate the threat of climate change.”

Mark Hunsicker, the Fort Carson Directorate of Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division Chief, said the study conclusions are already helping Fort Carson focus its net zero efforts: “The GSA study helped Fort Carson understand how behavior change can be a useful approach to energy conservation. Part of the study analyzed how green buildings performed in areas of envelope and lighting controls, emphasizing the importance of monitoring facilities as part of building operations and maintenance programs.”

For the complete report, visit /fortcarson. This is the second green building demonstration project GSA has completed, the first analyzed green building technologies at the EPA Region 8 headquarters building in Denver, Colo. For more information on GSA’s sustainability efforts, check out the agency’s “Green Day Wednesday” blog posts on The GSA Blog.

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