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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

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MCLB Albany moves one step closer to NetZero

By Pamela Jackson, Community Plans & Liaison Officer | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | July 11, 2019


During a ribbon-cutting ceremony aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, July 9, base officials moved one step closer to achieving their NetZero energy resiliency goals.  Phase Two of the Borehole Thermal Energy Storage Systems and Ground Source Heat Pumps that will serve buildings in the downtown area of the base were officially commissioned for use.

MCLB Albany set an aggressive goal to be NetZero by 2020 and the implementation of America’s first BTES system in 2015 is a prime example of just one of the many cutting-edge technologies that have been implemented to reach that goal.

Hubert Smigelski, deputy director, Installation and Environment Division, said Building 3700, the first building completed under phase one, has achieved a 52 percent annual reduction (metered) on overall energy consumption.

“This (equated to) approximately $238,000 in annual energy savings and reduced cooling tower water consumption by 100 percent or 4.2 million gallons per year, reduced on-site emissions by 100 percent, and produced a 33 percent greenhouse gas reduction at the power plant,” he explained.

A handout describing the process explained that in winter, cold water flows through the inner headers to the core of the BTES and charges it.  In summer, it reverses flow and warm water from the building flows through the outer headers into the BTES perimeter, is cooled and flows back out through the cold core to the building.

It further explained the BTES is comprised of 306 boreholes, drilled 210 feet into the underground formation for out-of-season use in heating or cooling buildings at a savings of up to 50 percent less energy than conventional systems.

Joseph B. Ringer, BTES engineering consultant, Andrews, Hammock and Powell, said the boreholes are zoned in three concentric cylindrical zones.

“They are piped in series to ensure optimum storage of cold in the core at night and in the winter during the charging mode and maximum dissipation of heat at the perimeter during discharge mode.  The reversing valves allow the system to store both cold and hot water for storage,” he said.  “This (adiabatic cooling feature) means the device has a heat-rejection component, necessary for the weather in the South, and can be described as one that captures the cold of winter or the night time air to enhance the ability of the system to store cold in the borehole loop. 

Col. Alphonso Trimble, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, asked the question, so what now that we have it? 

“It’s all about support to the warfighter,” Trimble said.  “The more efficient we can be, the more resources we can put elsewhere.  Having the energy resiliency and energy conservation methods (in place) allow us to do this.  To put it all into perspective, we have these borehole thermal energy systems, the first of which amounted to a savings of about $238,000.

“It has also allowed us to be good stewards of our environment and enhanced our ability to bounce back after a natural or manmade disaster.  In many cases we have done that.  We have bounced back from both a tornado and a hurricane since the first one was installed,” the colonel added. 

Trimble thanked his predecessors for their vision and tenacity to get something like this done, the staff and consultants involved and the community for their support.