Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seeing Green Using Smart Meters

Fort Bragg sees green as smart meters, other actions save energy
Feb 08, 2012 - Coby Jones clicks a couple of buttons on his computer screen and up pops a drawing showing the interior layout of the 18th Airborne Corps Headquarters building.

Jones points to a room - more specifically to the number inside that room. At that exact moment, it's 70.6 degrees in the office of Fort Bragg's commander, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick.

Jones, energy program coordinator at Fort Bragg, knows there's a problem with the heat in the building - the thermostat is set to 72.5 - before most people could recognize the temperature change. Mechanics are already on their way to make repairs.

With another set of clicks, Jones shifts to Bragg's Cleland Ice Rink, where the ice is 22.1 degrees.

The buildings are two of about 400 on Fort Bragg equipped with smart meters that send information back to computers where Jones works, an area called the Building Operations Command Center.

The smart meters track the heating and air systems in the buildings and measure the use of gas, water and electricity. An alarm goes to the computer if any problem is detected.

Meters will be installed in about 800 other buildings within the next few years, Jones said.

"You had all these smart buildings out there. Now we can actually diagnose problems from here," Jones said. "It makes us more efficient."

Jones said the meters not only can be used to dispatch repair people more quickly, they should eventually help Fort Bragg reduce its utility costs. A 10 percent reduction would add up to millions of dollars in savings for the sprawling installation, which spends about $45 million on electricity each year. read more>>>

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