JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, Washington, DC –
The 11th Civil Engineer Squadron has partnered with Washington Gas since 2020 to work towards decentralizing and rebuilding the heating infrastructure to improve the overall quality of life on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington D.C.
By decentralizing the heat plan for the base, the 11th CES aims to eliminate the risk of cascading failure of multiple heating units, reduce costs and increase the quality of life throughout JBAB’s infrastructure.
“The previous way heat was provided to the buildings was by a centralized unit, or a boiler providing heat in the form of steam located in one area,” said Jeremy Gerrard, 11th CES engineering flight chief. “There are benefits and negatives to this, while the larger boilers are more efficient you have the risk of damage to infrastructure.”
The 11th CES hopes to reduce this risk of damage and rolling failures by decentralizing the boilers and running new gas lines to buildings.
“Decentralizing the heat plan decreases the risk of a loop going down and knocking twenty buildings down,” said Dave Hill, 11th CES engineering technician, “if a building goes down with no heat it is just the single building versus the twenty.”
Occurring in different phases, the overhaul affects several buildings across JBAB.
“It’s happened in three different phases, and was initially split up by where we knew the most number of leaks were so we could cut them off quicker,” said Gerrard. “The first phase most is happening in what we call historic downtown JBAB, surrounding Hangar 1, Hangar 2, and Hangar 520. There are about a dozen more buildings still on the centralized boiler, and phases two and three will take those off.”
Another part of the project is changing the form of heating along with changing the boilers from a centralized unit.
“The biggest issue we were having were leaks in the lines that carried the steam, and losing thousands and thousands of gallons of water very quickly,” said Gerrard. “By the nature of the steam, it eats through the lines quickly. We are now replacing the boilers with decentralized boilers that run off natural gas. Natural gas is cheaper than a lot of the petroleum products out there. It will reduce costs for us, (and) provide more redundancy and flexibility to respond.”
The project is intended to bolster and improve the infrastructure as the 11th CES and JBAB leadership work to provide improved services to its tenants.
Installing the new gas lines and decentralizing the boilers began in the summer of 2020 and is projected to be completed at the end of June 2021.