Fort Rucker has met the federal mandate to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015 head on, forming a partnership with Alabama Power that is slated to install more than $18 million in conservation measures and placing the post on a path to surpass the government’s original goal.
Those cost-saving measures will save the southeastern Alabama installation almost $2 million a year, and include a variety of initiatives. The partnership installed a 51-kilowatt photovoltaic array at Fort Rucker that was paid for by the sale of three natural gas generators that were no longer operating. The project generates more energy than the remote air field it serves requires, achieving another goal — becoming a net-zero energy usage area.
So far, Alabama Power has installed $1.7 million in energy efficiency measures, including lighting, lighting sensors, HVAC upgrades, infrared heat, LED outdoor lighting and an innovative heat pump water heater connected to a boiler.
The remaining measures are being designed or installed and should be completed in September. These include state-of-the-art high efficiency chillers located in a new central chilled water plant along with a chilled water loop. Other upgrades include new heat recovery systems, high-efficiency boilers and solar water heating. Those projects will reduce the installation’s energy usage by 10 percent.
Fort Rucker also enjoys tremendous support from its surrounding host communities, including the cities of Daleville, Dothan, Enterprise and Ozark. Leaders in those four communities have committed to allocate $2 per resident annually to promote Fort Rucker and its missions. The commitment covers the next three years.
The installation also benefits from local representation on the Alabama Job Creation and Military Stability Commission, an organization created by the state legislature to retain and enhance the military presence in Alabama. Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell and retired Brig. Gen. Rod Wolfe were appointed to represent Fort Rucker and the surrounding region.
For leading the way toward greater energy efficiency, Fort Rucker is being awarded ADC’s Installation Excellence Award. Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill next month during the Defense Communities National Summit.