NEWPORT, R.I. - A Naval War College (NWC) team is studying how NWC can save energy not only to shave costs, but to reduce its carbon footprint and support Department of Defense environmental goals.

The energy team included three University of Rhode Island students who worked on the project throughout the summer, and were led by Team Director Capt. Ken Wavell, working with NWC's Facilities Department. 

The students, Sarah Sylvia, Kevin Silveira, and Rachel Ackerman, each have different educational backgrounds. Sylvia is a graduate student of oceanography, Silveira is majoring in mechanical engineering, and Ackerman is an environmental economics major.

They reviewed four years of energy consumption data and surveyed the campus.   After analyzing the data, they made a list of short-term, mid-term, and long-term recommendations.

"Commitment to the idea of making these improvements is a multi-year type program," Wavell said. "It's not a one shot, look at it now, and one shot and look at it later."

Wavell, a reservist, said NWC is trying to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide it emits into the atmosphere, and meet DOD environmental goals, which call for reduction of energy consumption by 30 percent by 2015.

"We're doing this to conserve energy and decrease waste," Wavell said. "It's probably taking a closer look at it than it's ever been given before."

The team sifted through about two years of data, tracking information that might suggest steam leaks or other examples of energy waste.

The team's short-term recommendations include mostly behavioral changes, like shutting computer screens and lights off before leaving the office, or installing motion sensors that automatically turn lights out when there is no motion in a room for a while.

Medium-term possibilities include an insulation study and installation of wind power generators and solar panels. Long-term proposals are carpool programs, energy consumption tracking, and an energy Web site for the college, according to a brief the team gave recently to NWC President Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup.

"We're going through buildings and highlighting areas where these recommendations need to be implemented," Sylvia said.

For the students on the team, giving the admiral a briefing was one of the most exciting parts of the job, in part because no one in the trio comes from a military family.

"He was very enthusiastic about having someone look at these objectives,"

Ackerman said.

According to the brief, 59 percent of NWC's energy expenditure goes to steam, which is used for both heat and air conditioning. Steam is mixed with another chemical to make a heat-releasing reaction, Sylvia said.

Peak energy uses are in the winter and summer, when heat and air conditioning are at their prime use.  But summer energy use usually goes higher, partially because of some inefficiency in the air conditioning system, Silveira said.

The students will continue to work on this project throughout the fall, while the team continues investigating ways to save energy, tracking power consumption, and refining recommendations.  The team expects to begin implementation of short-term goals in a couple of months, and Facilities Department is taking on some of the larger recommendations and exploring them further with the Naval Station.

by Tyler Will, Naval War College Public Affairs

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