The Kansas National Guard with little fanfare is quietly waging a long-term and winning war against energy inefficiency at its installations that is saving millions of dollars and could point the way for huge private sector gains.
“The Department of Defense is uniquely positioned to lead and save the states’ money because National Guard tolerance for immediate fiscal paybacks is less stringent than the private sector,” the Kansas Guard wrote in an analysis of its effort requested by The Energy Times.
Tom Sloan, a Kansas state representative familiar with these efforts, said, “The Kansas National Guard is demonstrating leadership nationally among large electric customers with multiple sites by auditing each building's energy use.”
The Kansas Guard is now in the middle of a six-year campaign with 141 energy efficiency retrofits at 64 buildings in the Sunflower State, according to Jeffrey Terrell, deputy director of public works working for the Adjutant General of Kansas.
In an earlier effort in 2011, the Kansas Army National Guard executed a $984,000 program to improve lighting at 36 armories. The guard estimates that the improvements are slashing its electric bills by $2.9 million over two decades.
In 2009 and 2010, the Kansas Army National Guard tapped $311,000 in federal recovery act stimulus funds to improve lighting at three aircraft maintenance hangars. It replaced large, inefficient residential-sized overhead fans installed five decades earlier with current fan technology. The estimated electricity savings from these stimulus fund projects over 15 years amounts to more than $475,000, according to the National Guard.
Energy savings initiatives by the Kansas National Guard in one recent four-year period will generate more than $10 million in savings over time, Terrell said.
Sloan, who once worked for a Topeka utility, actively tracks new energy initiatives nationally and is closely monitoring the achievements of the Kansas National Guard.
“They are exploring alternative self-generation and storage opportunities, and partnering with their electricity providers to reduce demand charges and explore alternative rate structures to achieve energy efficiency, energy conservation, lower energy bills, and improved system resiliency,” Sloan said.