The U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy swap energy teams and are tasked with improving the energy efficiency of the other’s campus in the new season of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) “Better Buildings Challenge SWAP” Web series.
“The Better Buildings Challenge SWAP has really helped reach those who can make our nation’s buildings better and their energy bills smaller,” Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency, said. “The reality style of the show, combined with opportunities to go behind the scenes with some of our nation’s most respected organizations and energy leaders, brings a fresh new light to energy-efficiency efforts in U.S. buildings.”
The series covers a two-day swap during which the teams learn from each other that they can apply simple behavioral changes to help students and faculty be more mindful about lighting usage and plug loads in classrooms when the classrooms are not in use. For example, the U.S. Naval Academy demonstrates how it improved the heating and cooling system for the world’s largest dormitory and how flat, flexible solar panels can let the beauty of historic buildings shine through.
“We operate a wide range of buildings, and many of them are historic—more than 100 years old,” Jabe Nekula, Public Works Department, Naval Academy, said. “It’s a challenge for us to maintain the historic appearance of our buildings while integrating new technologies to provide better energy savings. We came away from the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP with valuable recommendations and energy-saving solutions that work for our older buildings.”
The U.S. Air Force discovers new ideas to make its old, single-pane windows more energy-efficient and finds energy improvements in the kitchen, such as adjusting refrigerators to be more efficient and turning off fans or closing warmer doors when they are not needed.
“SWAP offers a fresh set of eyes and, in this case, from a sister service with a shared mission,” Col. John Christ, U.S. Air Force Academy, said. “Often, as engineers, we will just install LED lights and move on to the next project. This experience has shown us the powerful energy-saving potential of behavior change among our cadets and our faculty, and we’ll be taking that next step in the future.”
To view the full series, click here.