With current budget deficits and sequestration constraints, the Department of Defense (DoD) is shifting its focus from construction of new facilities (MILCON) to an emphasis on the sustainment, restoration, and modernization of existing facilities (FSRM) to fit its evolving mission requirements and meet emerging energy and operational sustainability standards.
The DoD Defense Authorization Bill for fiscal year (FY) 2014 provides $7.6 billion for worldwide military construction and energy saving projects (a decrease from a peak of $12.6 billion in FY 2010). Military construction includes large and small construction and the sustainable restoration of existing facilities at military bases. Agencies and activities defense-wide are requesting approximately $2.4 billion in FY 2014 for FSRM according to forecasts provided at the SAME DOD and Federal Agency Programs Briefings. The focus on FSRM projects is largely driven by sequestration cost reductions and legislation to lower lifecycle energy and operations costs.
For instance, the Department of Defense Energy Security Act (DoDESA) emphasizes energy security and independence while Executive Order 13514 (EO13514) sets sustainability goals for all federal government buildings. EO13514 requires that all new federal buildings achieve zero-net-energy standards by 2030. They must also divert at least 50 percent of non-hazardous solid waste as well as construction & demolition materials and debris by FY 2015 to lower waste disposal costs and increase recycling and reuse of materials.
As the military shifts its construction practices to emphasize sustainment, restoration, and modernization, so does its needs and expectations of architect and engineering firms (AE), and construction companies in terms of innovation, cost effectiveness, and timely delivery. As AEs, it’s our responsibility to focus on helping defense agencies design the rehabilitation or renovation of facilities that maximize low lifecycle (LCC) total costs for planning, design, construction, commissioning, and operation while producing deep energy cuts of up to 50 percent. The facilities must also be safer and more efficient from a logistical, mission-focused standpoint for our fighting forces.
It takes considerable care and innovative ideas during the design and construction process to achieve the best possible solution in today’s challenging economic environment while meeting the evolving needs of our DOD agencies. As an industry, we must pool our talents and innovative designs to provide our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines the mission and energy sustainable facilities required to defend our country and our allies across the world.