Navy’s oldest installation eyes clean energy future

The U.S. Navy’s oldest on-shore installation has set its sights on a clean energy future.

First established in 1799, the Navy Yard evolved from a shipbuilding center, to an ordinance plant, to the ceremonial and administrative heart of the U.S. Navy.

Now, the Navy Yard is making investments in a wide range of clean energy and energy efficiency measures – saving taxpayers money and improving operational capability.

For example, the Navy Yard’s visitor center is a prototype net-zero facility. The recently retrofitted brick building includes a combination of energy efficiency measures like LED lighting, spray-foam insulation, and windows that tint electronically; renewable technologies like photovoltaic solar arrays and micro wind turbines; and ground-source heat pumps that use geothermal energy for heating and cooling.

“The technologies were chosen for various reasons, some performance-based and some economic-based,” said Steven Miller, design project manager and architect with the Public Works Department Washington. “Our biggest bang for our buck is coming from the geothermal system where we’ve seen a 70 percent reduction in our energy consumption and, more importantly, a huge increase in occupant comfort.”

In 2010, Secretary of the Navy Ray Maybus announced that one of the U.S. Navy’s primary energy goals is to make half of all Navy installations net-zero, meaning they generate as much energy as they consume. With the newest net-zero building in Washington, the Navy is one step closer.

Elsewhere at the installation, uniformed personnel are working closely with civilian employees to closely track how buildings across the Navy Yard consume energy. This helps identify and address inefficiencies.

Check out this video for a guided tour of both the net-zero visitor center and the Navy Yard’s broader energy efficiency measures:

— Environmental Entrepreneurs