The camps, which offer energy and resource reductions of 35 to 75 percent over traditional canvas set-ups, don’t feature tents in their traditional sense at all. Instead, soldiers’ shelters are ridged-sided boxes that resemble shipping containers. The containers are made material lightweight enough that one soldier can lift a 20-foot wall section.
Shelters have an insulation R-Value of approximately 12, compared to four for tents. They feature LED lighting, motion-detecting switches, low-water efficient laundry systems, low-water latrines and shower heads, waterless urinals, rain water collection systems, shower water reuse systems and highly-efficient generator micro grids, the Army says.
One nod to the shelter’s canvas predecessors is a solar shading canopy – that looks very much like a canvas roof – suspended above the container. As well as cutting down the amount of the sun’s heat energy that reaches the shelter, the shading features photovoltaics and battery power storage.
As a result of the resource efficiency, convoys needed to deliver fuel and water to base camps in war zones would be reduced, putting fewer soldiers at risk.
Each rigid-wall shelter can house 10 soldiers and be set up in less than 15 minutes by four people. Current test sites include Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Bliss, Texas. Two more test camps are to be set up at Fort Devens, Mass., and one in Australia. Small camps could be deployed in Afghanistan by this summer, the Army says.
The US Army invested $208.8 million of its $384 million goal in energy saving initiatives from December 2011 to December 2012, and is on target to meet its goal next year, according to an Army News Service report released at the end of last year.
To date, the Army says it has awarded 17 energy savings performance contract task orders to private contractors and nine utility energy services contract task orders to utility companies to meet its target by Dec. 31, 2013. These contracts cover energy-efficient heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems, and water projects.
The Army’s first UESCs were completed in 1992, and ESPCs followed in 1996. Some $1.16 billion in energy contracts have been performed in ESPCs and $543 million through UESCs since then.