Energy savings contract revitalizes airfield

Huntsville Center Public Affairs
Published March 24, 2021

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center Huntsville Energy Savings Performance Contract project awarded in 2017 received the 2019 Association of Energy Engineers Region III Energy Project of the Year award.

The 2017 ESPC project saw an investment of more than $25 million to improve the heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as lighting and water improvements at the 109,000-acre Army installation located south of Louisville, Kentucky.

However, one aspect of the ESPC wasn’t part of the original Center’s project development team that issued the contract is sharing the success of ESPC project’s contract modification upgrading airfields to LED lighting with other installations.

In 2019 Huntsville Center awarded a fully funded $5.4 million modification to the contract’s task order to improve mission readiness and secure infrastructure by upgrading lighting and replacing decades- old wiring on Fort Knox’s Godman Army Airfield.

The airfield originally began operation in 1918 and the cable and control technology was 1940s- era infrastructure.

Dennis Lacy, Huntsville Center ESPC project manager said due to the age and condition of the aging infrastructure, heavy rains would often cause system blackouts and loss of mission.

Lacy also said airfield repairs cost to Fort Knox’s Department of Public Works was more than $250,000 annually over the last five years.

However, financial costs to the installation paled in comparison to how a thunderstorm could impact the mission.

In May 2019, the airfield experienced a failure of the airfield lighting infrastructure resulting in an overarching safety and operational issue for the Army.

Lacy said the ESPC provided upgrades to a 100-year-old lighting infrastructure and upgraded the lighting to LEDs, the first use of LEDs on an Army airfield ever.

“This project not only provides energy savings to Fort Knox, but also ensures Godman Army Airfield will provide continued support to Army Reserve Aviation Command and aviation multi-service joint training and operations,” Lacy said. 

Robert Dyrdek, Fort Knox energy manager and utility services officer, said lighting issues often affected the mission there and pilots were often even turned away.

Dyrdek said thanks to the contract, heavy rains will no longer overwhelm the integrity of the lighting system. 

“Now, secure wiring infrastructure and advanced lighting provides pilots with an enviable, mission-ready airfield,” Dyrdek said.