Energy Action Month: Unlocking efficiency at Wright-Patt

  • Published
  • By James Landfair, Energy Manager
  • Engineering Division, 88th Civil Engineer Group

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – October is Energy Action Month, and in an age where sustainability and efficiency are paramount, it’s not just about how much power we use, but also how well we use it.

Enter the world of building-level power-quality analysis, a cutting-edge practice that’s poised to revolutionize the way we manage energy consumption. There are myriad benefits of scrutinizing and optimizing power quality at the building level. Before we explore the benefits, let’s demystify power quality.

It’s not just about a steady supply of electricity; it’s about the reliability and cleanliness of that power. Poor power quality can result in voltage sags, surges, harmonics and interruptions – all of which can have detrimental effects on equipment, operations and your bottom line.

Power quality aligns with the robustness element of the five R’s, which include recovery, response, redundancy and resourcefulness. Energy robustness can be analyzed by addressing the following questions:

  • Is the mission physically secure at its location?
  • Has adequate facility hardening been developed and implemented?
  • Does the mission’s associated infrastructure have active building-performance monitoring and maintenance?
  • Can the mission relocate to another facility or location?

Power analytics can solve many robustness requirements by identifying building-performance gaps and offering insight into solutions that can directly affect a mission. One of the most significant advantages of analyzing building-level power quality is the improved reliability of electrical equipment.

When machinery receives clean and consistent power, it operates more efficiently and experiences fewer breakdowns. In addition, ingress/egress control and intrusion-detection systems rely on electricity to function and are susceptible to power fluctuations. This translates into reduced maintenance costs and increases overall facility hardening.

The financial implications of power-quality analysis are substantial. By minimizing downtime, extending the life span of facility equipment and reducing energy waste, you’re effectively cutting operational costs. It’s an investment that pays for itself over time, freeing up resources for other critical mission capabilities.

A low power factor can also result in inefficient energy usage and additional utility charges. With continuous monitoring of power quality, you gain insights into the performance of your electrical infrastructure. This enables you to adopt a proactive approach to maintenance, addressing issues before they escalate into costly problems. Predictive maintenance reduces downtime and extends the life of facility and mission equipment.

Safety should never be overlooked. Analyzing power quality can help identify potential safety hazards within an electrical system. By addressing these issues promptly, you can create a safer work environment and reduce the risk of accidents.

Building-level power-quality analysis is no longer a luxury but a necessity in our energy-conscious world. It’s a tool that empowers Air Force missions to become more efficient, sustainable and reliable.

During Energy Action Month each October, the Air Force highlights energy’s critical role in operations and mission continuity by encouraging smart use and management for installations, ground vehicles and aircraft.

With a theme of “Powering Possibility,” this year’s campaign reflects the Air Force’s forward-looking approach to energy innovation and powering the future force.