Air Force makes progress with meters

  • Published
  • By Mike Ringenberg
The Department of Defense requires that all Air Force bases install meters by October 2012 to measure electric, gas, water and steam and collect data daily. The Air Force has spent $90 million and has installed 71 percent of required meters. With equipment installation nearly complete, the next steps are to acquire a standardized software platform and receive approval for communications systems. The Air Force Facility Energy Center, part of the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is working with the Headquarters Air Force Information Technology Branch on acquisition of advanced meter reading, or AMR, software and associated IT hardware to standardize data collection using as much existing infrastructure as possible.

"We know that our major commands have been clamoring for an enterprise solution, and we are beginning to see that solution materialize," said AFFEC Conservation Branch Chief Ken Walters.

If not collected and shared on an AMR system for analysis and reporting, there is no value to meter data. Currently, meter data is collected in three ways: 1) through an energy management control system that communicates on the base's local area network; 2) via a wireless communication system to a dedicated AMR front end; and 3) by manually reading the meter. While the Air Force has invested a significant amount of funding in both the wireless and existing EMCS for energy data collection, 27 percent of large Air Force bases cannot transmit meter data and must read it manually.

AFCESA is pushing to award a contract in 2011 that would include AMR front end (software and IT hardware), training, and support, as well as standardized wireless communication equipment for bases that have not yet deployed meter communication systems.

"Wireless communications for AMR is the preferred method for data collection; however, EMCS is acceptable if compliant with Engineering Technical Letter 9-11," said Mr. Walters.

A standardized platform will also provide the benchmarking tool required by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, as well as measurement and verification and "mock" billing for energy use awareness purposes. Based on the Annual Energy Management Report to Congress, the Air Force's current AMR status is 87 percent for electric, 78 percent for natural gas, 47 percent for steam, and 46 percent for water.