2011 NCPPP Innovation Award
Project Location: Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Public Sector Partner: Department of the Army
Contact Name: Phillip Garito, Chief, Fort Campbell Housing Division; firstname.lastname@example.org
Private Sector Partner: Lend Lease
Contact Name: Mike Goodwin, Project Director; email@example.com
The Department of Defense considers itself a pioneer in terms of developing and utilizing innovative technology in the government. This does not stop short of their private housing facilities on military bases throughout the United States. What began as a vision to pursue sustainability initiatives in late 2007 turned in to the first zero energy homes to be built on a military installation.
The military has long made use of public-private partnerships in order to maintain efficient maintenance and operating practices in their private housing communities. The Army and private contractor Lend Lease worked together to design the first “net zero” military housing in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. This partnership, with collaboration between many public and private sector parties, produced an innovative design on a manageable scale at an affordable cost. Furthermore, all entities entered the project with the hope of gaining insights on how to replicate this project successfully for more military families and the private construction market.
The partnership produced a product with a 54% energy reduction and a 27% water reduction when compared to a conventionally designed home. The remaining 46% of energy is produced by photovoltaic solar panels to achieve a “net zero” energy consumption. Pairing this with other environmentally conscious design choices has allowed the homes to reduce their resource consumption and carbon footprint, and provides a huge cut to the costs of living in the home. With a commitment to such results, the Pentagon has issued a challenge that by 2030, all military installations be “net zero” energy, water, and waste.
The Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) allows each branch of the military to partner with a developer to build and improve homes on military facilities. The Department of the Army’s Residential Communities Initiative allowed the project to create energy efficient homes above current standards and obtain a grant through the Department of Defense Environmental Security Transfer Program (ESTCP). The result was the first zero energy homes project within the military.
The zero energy homes project allowed the military to test ways to cut their energy consumption and their operating costs. The military has an attitude of increased sustainability as a means of increased defense capability. The military understands that while green energy requires more capital spending, it lowers costs over time. They also recognize an increase in safety; if any attack should pull a base off the main power grid, they could produce their own energy and use less of it. The Campbell Crossing project allowed the Department of the Army to pair with a private developer to maximize energy efficiency and acted as an assessment of how these techniques can be adapted for building on an affordable and manageable scale.
This project was also intended to evaluate impacts on the residential construction industry. It tested the ability of the developers to take an existing home footprint and modify it to be produced as a single duplex within a traditional neighborhood. This endeavor also took on an aspect of residential awareness and education. The program taught the homeowners skills for energy and water conservation, and their consumption was monitored by equipment within the home. A comparison against identical homes without the extra environmental features in the neighborhood allowed for an evaluation on the efficiency of the home and resource consumption.
The public sector partner on this project was the U.S. Army. All branches of the military have been working through public-private partnerships for many years to maintain and improve homes on DOD facilities. This existing partnership framework and the Army’s Residential Community’s Initiative made the U.S. Army a willing and capable public partner. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command Southeast, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense Environmental Security Transfer Certification Program (ESTCP) played supporting roles in the public sector. They provided expertise and guidance on environmental and building matters during the project.
The primary private sector partner on this project was the housing developer Lend Lease (US) Public Partnerships. This company already operates and maintains about one-quarter of military homes. They have employed materials and techniques to enhance environmental performance on other projects, and this allowed them to pull their knowledge together and apply for an ESTCP grant.
Additional private partners include Campbell Crossing LLC, the community of private military homes in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) provided assistance with monitoring home performance, resource consumption, and analysis over the four season testing cycle. The U.S. Green Build Council and the National Association of Homebuilders Research Center (NAHB) provided advisory support on techniques and materials throughout the design-build process.
Implementation Environment—Legislative and Administrative
The military is a conducive environment to public-private partnerships. Regarding housing facilities, the military has made it easy and encouraging to work with private partners. The Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) allows each of the military Services to partner with private developers to improve the homes. This is a flexible public-private partnership mechanism that allows the Services to choose their own developers and incorporate desired specifications into their projects, such as sustainable design.
The attitudes within the Department of the Army and the Army’s Residential Communities Initiatives programs helped to achieve this project because of a strong commitment to meeting energy reduction requirements. The army culture is shifting from mission-focused consumption to sustainability and resource conservation. This allowed the Army to explore a cost-effective way to build a small-scale Zero Energy Home project, which could be used to learn lessons for the future. The partners were interested in testing traditional design-build practices, energy saving technologies, and residential behaviors whose lessons could be applied to other DOD projects and the residential construction industry.
The homes were paid for using the development and construction funds that already exist as part of the Military Housing Privatization contract. These funds consist of equity investments by Lend Lease and the Army, as well as some private loans. Additional energy grants were obtained through the Army that provided money for design modeling and energy monitoring.
Families pay Lend Lease from the Basic Housing Allowance afforded to them by the Army. This is an occupancy driven incentive for Lend Lease to provide an adequate amount of housing for the residents of the community.
The Department of the Army has a long standing relationship with Lend Lease. Currently, Lend Lease maintains approximately 40,000 military homes within the Department of the Army. Long leases help distribute the high costs of community development, and a critical mass of homes in an area secure long-term housing update projects. The public-private partnership allows the Army to have their housing constructed and managed more quickly and cost efficient than if maintained entirely by the public entity.
Lend Lease and Campbell Crossing at Fort Campbell, Kentucky have a 50 year partnership with the Department of the Army. The specific contract provisions for this project required Lend Lease to produce two net zero homes and two baseline homes that could be monitored for four seasons to gauge energy efficiency. The energy grant from the Army paid for the modeling, monitoring, and final report.
Additionally, Campbell Crossing is contracted to maintain all properties on Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The partnership renovates, demolishes, and replaces housing when necessary and funds exist. The company plans renovation and replacement construction on a yearly basis with a goal of replacing as many houses as possible during the lifetime of the contract.
The design of the Zero Energy Homes duplex is modeled to reduce energy consumption by 54% compared to a conventionally built home. This is achieved through a passive solar design that takes advantage of the building’s southern-facing orientation, an advanced thermal building envelope and airtight building shell, geothermal heating and cooling, controlled ventilation, and energy- and water-saving fixtures and appliances. To help maintain a comfortable inner temperature without requiring additional energy, the roof eaves have been extended on the southern facing wall by eight inches to provide more shade and self-deploying awnings were installed on the windows to protect the building from radiant heat. Geothermal heating requires less energy than traditional temperature control. Because the air from the ground is naturally kept at a constant temperature, it only has to be heated or cooled a few degrees. Traditional systems draw air from the outside, which needs to be heated or cooled 20-30 degrees during the winter and summer. The heating and cooling of air and water normally comprise about 60 percent of a home’s energy costs, so these measures will save energy resources and money.
“Net zero” energy consumption is achieved by offsetting the remaining 46% of energy with 34 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the duplex. Solar hot water systems will also be utilized for heating water within the home. The house will reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions by 10.4 tons per year, Sulfur Dioxide by 104.6 pounds per year, and Nitrogen Oxide by 34.8 pounds per year.
It is anticipated that the Zero Energy Homes will only need 9,631 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year to function, opposed to 20,862 kWh required by a traditional home structure. The design expects a 27% reduction in water usage along with 7,300 gallons of saved hot water. The duplex is expected to consume less than half of the energy of a home built to the 2009 international energy code, and the savings constitute a Home Energy Rating System score of zero. This is significantly below an Energy Star Rating of 85.
A key factor for maximizing the efficiency of the home lies in understanding the features it provides. It was crucial that occupants were educated about their energy and water consumption choices before moving into the new homes. This education helped the families to cut their personal resource consumption by 19% just by being energy and water conscious.
Methods for Overcoming Impediments
A challenge that the partners found unique to this project was the level of coordination necessary between all primary and supporting parties during the design-build process. The architect, system engineers, builder, and owner had to work as a team for the duration of the project, unlike the normal sequential operation of traditional home building. This collaboration also helped to alleviate potential problems at they happened, keeping the project on time and budget.
Additionally, the partners found it difficult to navigate legal and financial structures for obtaining the ESTCP grant. The parties had to work together to submit plans during all phases (pre-design, design, construction, turnover, and monitoring) to ensure the attainment of the grant and proper function of the elements it financially supported, design modeling and resource monitoring.
Key Points of Success or Failure
The biggest setback occurred in the first six months of monitoring at no fault of the project participants. Since the implementation of the monitoring system, there have been 318 more heating degree days and 60 more cooling degree days than originally modeled. This has had negative effects on the solar energy production and the solar water heating. However, the panels have still produced an average of 627 kWh per month creating a savings of approximately $47 per month. In April the panels produce 109% of energy consumption in one unit and 94% of energy consumption in the other unit. These numbers are likely to improve as the project moves into peak solar months.
The Zero Energy Homes project has been a success as far as energy efficient and sustainability projects. It was certified as LEED Platinum and received the 2011 National Association of Home Builders’ Project of the Year in the National Green Building program.
The project is proud of its work with the residents to inform them about environmentally conscious resource consumption. This was a successful demonstration of Zero Energy Homes built on an affordable and efficient scale. The success helps the expansion of energy efficient homes on the private construction market, which has implications for developing green, sustainable communities in urban areas.