By Mark Kreitz, AICP, LEED AP, M.SAME
After large storm events, Army National Guard troops provide essential services to the community. From search and rescue operations to clearing trees and debris from downed power lines, the Army National Guard ensures those impacted are safe and able to take steps toward recovery. To carry out this mission, facilities require total energy and water assurance to reliably sustain needs for an extended period of time.
Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina are among the first National Guard organizations addressing these issues through Installation Energy and Water Plans (IEWPs). Military departments in these states are developing IEWPs that not only protect existing assets, but prepare them for future natural disasters and emergencies.
PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
An IEWP is a living document that provides the strategy to improve the security and resiliency of installation systems and operations, ensuring mission sustainability if external or internal water or energy services become disrupted.
The process begins by identifying requirements. Through an extensive data collection process, planners review existing energy and water consumption data, systems drawings, master plans, and installation status reports, as well as previous plans and studies. This preliminary review is key to understanding how, where, and when energy and water is consumed.
Using this analysis, the planning team establishes a shortlist of critical facilities and missions. Buildings on this shortlist are then targeted for on-site assessments. During site visits, engineers and planners inspect energy and water systems for vulnerabilities and assess their ability to maintain mission assurance. The planning team also converses with facility managers and occupants to understand how the buildings perform during an outage.
Using the consumption data and critical missions list, the planning team ascertains how much energy and water are needed to keep critical missions online. From this analysis, potential gaps in critical mission sustainment, energy assurance, or systems operation are identified. Utilizing usage trends and existing master plans, the planning team can develop a baseline and forecast future energy and water needs.
The IEWP also assesses risks and opportunities in addition to identifying requirements. Through interviews with stakeholders and an on-site workshop, the planning team can identify threats and hazards to demonstrate how potential risks can impact critical missions. These discussions uncover the history of a facility and how it exists within the context of a community, utility grid, region, and even a climate zone. This institutional knowledge is key to understanding a risk profile and what projects or best management practices can be put in place to help mitigate.
The next step is to put forward solutions that address shortfalls in energy or water resilience. For example, consumption data and on-site interviews may reveal that during a power outage, a facility can only continue to operate for two days given the size of its back-up generator and on-site fuel storage. To address this shortfall, the planning team may propose to replace the on-site fuel storage with a larger tank.
The results from this step are then presented to the client so stakeholders can select and prioritize the most viable set of solutions. The implementation plan will be the product of these efforts and will allow the client to take ownership to strengthen energy and water resilience.
AN ADAPTABLE PLAN
While IEWPs are geared toward a Directorate of Public Works or Construction & Facility Management Offices, they can be tailored to wider organizational needs. For military clients, IEWPs fold into existing planning frameworks and are integrated with master plans.
To date, over 260 projects have been planned through the IEWP process to prepare states for their crucial disaster response and emergency management missions, protect existing assets, and provide energy and water assurance.
Mark Kreitz, AICP, LEED AP, M.SAME, is Project Manager – Planning/Geospatial, Pond; firstname.lastname@example.org
[This article first published in the March-April 2021 issue of The Military Engineer.]