By Sue Brink, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast Public Affairs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS JAX) held a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 9 officially opening its base gym after six months of renovations.
"The entire facility is a very sharp looking facility that is very inviting to all Navy personnel," said Lt. Cmdr. Michael James, Navy Reserve civil engineer, who uses the gym while here at NAS JAX. "This was a great surprise as the last time I was here the gym was still under renovations."
Josh Bass, NAS JAX installation energy manager, explained that the formerly dark environment with typical gym and sometimes questionable odors has been replaced by a clean interior with fresh paint, new air conditioning and ventilation systems, as well as a reconfigured lighting system, low-flow water fixtures and several architectural improvements.
"In addition to providing a quality venue for Sailors, their families and the civilian employees at NAS JAX to improve their physical fitness, another goal of this project was to make the gym more energy and water efficient," said Bass.
Every visitor can notice the energy efficient features of the gym the moment they walk through the doorway. The new lobby configuration at the front entrance minimizes the loss of cool air as patrons enter and exit the building.
The new lighting configuration provides coverage across the entire space with the appropriate level of lighting.
"The T8 lamps are lower wattage than standard lamps and therefore use less energy," said Bass. "Additionally, there are occupancy sensors installed within each space of the gym so when no one is using a particular room for an extended period of time, the lights will turn off. When someone enters a space, the sensor detects the movement and turns on the lights."
In regards to water conservation, the fixtures in the restrooms and showers were changed to low flow. Patrons should hardly notice the difference, but they will be using significantly less water.
The greatest energy improvement made to the facility was in the heating, ventilating and air conditioning equipment.
Bass explained the three types of energy improvements. The first is a packaged roof top air conditioner that provides conditioned (cooled or heated depending on the time of year) fresh outdoor air to the building. This unit's energy efficient motor will speed up or slow down based on the pressure of the building.
The exhaust system consists of several exhaust fans driven by energy efficient motors. These fans can be programmed to start and stop at different times and operate at different speeds. As exhaust fans turn off or change speed, the building begins to build pressure. The outdoor air unit senses the rise in pressure and scales back its output. This action/reaction results in energy savings.
"These two systems working together is what will keep the facility comfortable and smelling fresh for years to come," said Bass.
The second system that is most visible to patrons is called the variable refrigerant flow system. Instead of using a giant air handler and ductwork to cool a large volume of air and then move that air throughout the building - a small amount of refrigerant is sent to units located either on the wall or the ceiling of each room. Instead of seeing ductwork in the open ceiling you now see refrigerant piping that makes this method more efficient than traditional air conditioning methods. This system provides supplemental cooling in each of the spaces, further reducing any heat or humidity issues associated with Florida's climate.
The gym's last piece of energy efficient design is how all of these systems are networked together by a computer program that allows the systems to "talk" to each other. Through this program, the outdoor air system determines when to provide more or less fresh air. Additionally, this program allows all of the systems to be placed on schedules.
"Through scheduling, we further maximize energy efficiency by determining when peak occupancy times occur and program the systems to ramp up and meet that demand," explained Bass. "The opposite is true during off-peak and unoccupied time periods."
The staff at the gym thank everyone for their patience during the renovation.