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Energy management is a prime concern to today’s Navy. By monitoring and using energy wisely, the Navy can move toward “going green,” and save money in the process. Naval District Washington (NDW) is demonstrating its initiative in energy management with its testing of the Cognitive Energy Management System (CEMS) in Building 101 of the Washington Navy Yard.

CEMS is an NDW sponsored technology demonstration designed to evaluate the effectiveness of intelligent occupancy-based building automation strategies to achieve energy savings. CEMS will manage building lighting and environmental conditioning systems based on the presence or absence of building occupants to optimize energy usage.

“This is part of our overall Smart Grid Pilot Program, and we’re looking for innovative projects like CEMS that can yield a reasonable return on investment,” said Jeff Johnson, NDW chief information officer. “Any technology investment that we can make to reduce our overall energy consumption is part of our strategy.”

CEMS works by leveraging existing industrial control system and access control capabilities to automate the control of energy-consuming building infrastructures such as lighting, heating, cooling, and other services based on occupancy. Simply put, CEMS will know how to regulate energy based on how many people are inside Building 101 at any given time. This optimizes energy usage throughout the day by ensuring that energy is not wasted when personnel are not in the building.

Personnel working in Building 101 can expect a few changes as a result of the CEMS testing later this year. An access card swipe will be required to enter the building by tenants and visitors at all times. This will enable CEMS to activate building lighting as well as environmental control systems based on the tenants entering the building.

When tenants swipe in, CEMS will be notified of the building entry and activate the lighting associated with the tenant’s work space. The system will also utilize motion sensors and passive infrared occupancy sensors deployed throughout the building to determine occupancy and control the lighting accordingly. Environmental conditioning is also enabled when tenants swipe in, as CEMS will be notified of the building entry and control the heating or cooling of the area associated with the tenant’s work space to maintain appropriate comfort levels.

Extensive use of CEMS and other smart energy initiatives are expected to result in a decline in not only energy usage, but public works maintenance man hours as well. According to the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, NDW’s CEMS program is expected to result in energy savings approaching 35 percent in locations where it is deployed with a return on investment within 5 years. By adding additional intelligence to the enterprise as well as components used to secure the critical infrastructure, CEMS will evolve in such a way to provide the visibility of real-time building occupancy and the analytics to manage the associated energy.

“This test is going to inform us on future projects,” said Johnson. “Once the test is complete, we will look at the results and see what would be a reasonable investment on technologies such as this for future projects in the region.”

Testing of the CEMS in Building 101 is expected to last through April, 2013, and CEMS building management is expected to last until April, 2014.

This story is part four in a four-part series on the NDW Smart Grid Pilot Program.