Keesler wins 2022 Federal Energy Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Davis
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs

Keesler was awarded the 2022 Federal Energy and Water Management Award, Oct. 26.

The award was given for a project completed in 2020 under the guidance of the 81st Civil Engineering Squadron, Col. Heather Blackwell, former 81st Training Wing base commander, and various contracting agencies.

Robert Baker, 81st CES electrical engineer, was already working on energy-saving plans for Keesler, following Executive Order 13693, when the opportunity for large-scale funding came around.

“We realized there were possible funding opportunities in doing an Energy Performance Savings Contract,” said Baker. “So, we made some phone calls to the Air Force Civil Engineer Center and asked how to get involved.”

The ESPC project identified four base-wide areas of interest, including chiller plant improvements, energy monitoring system enhancements and installing 30,000 energy efficient LED lights across base. The last piece of the project is the most visible; a renewable energy solar panel array in the Commissary parking lot.

The solar panels provide more than just coverage for Commissary shoppers from the hot Mississippi sun.

“Our cost savings were about 10 percent higher than what we calculated going into the project,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Thomas, 81st Civil Engineering Squadron commander. “We projected $137,000 but we actually saw cost savings of $151,000, so that’s really good news for us.”

The 81st CES is looking forward to continuing to implement energy saving projects across base.

“The project shed some light on some other areas of the installation that we can improve on,” said Baker. “We developed a new control package, which just got awarded two weeks ago. With that package, we can deal with some older control systems on the installation that need our attention.”

Thomas attributes the award to the hard work of Keesler personnel.

“We're a proud organization, we're a competent organization and we're a professional organization,” said Thompson. “This validates the extraordinary capabilities of the men and women on Team Keesler, certainly within the 81st CES but also with our contracted partners with whom collaborate daily.”