Lockheed meets goal, raises bar on energy conservation

A. Lee Graham lgraham@bizpress.net

Having achieved its energy conservation goal six years early, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co. has raised the bar. “We already reached our goal, so as a corporation, they decided to raise it,” said Ben Paul Gilmore, energy management engineer with the Fort Worth-based aeronautics unit of Lockheed Martin Corp. Within a cavernous 7.8-million-square-foot manufacturing space in west Fort Worth, Gilmore conceives and puts into practice cost-cutting measures that have paid dividends since pursuing electricity and water conservation in 2010. Though the company prioritized such measures as a result of the nation’s energy crisis in the late ‘70s, it accelerated such efforts in recent years. The results are listed in lengthy spreadsheets covering Gilmore’s desk and overhead video monitors.

In 2007, the firm spent $21.6 million in electricity usage and $5.4 million and $737,900 in natural gas and water usage costs, respectively. Fast forward to 2013, and those expenses dropped to $13.6 million, $2.1 million and $636,100. “We’re using 13 percent less electricity in 2014 than we did in 2010,” said Gilmore, anticipating 2 percent more savings in 2015, meaning the company would have reached 15 percent of its 2020 goal five years early. “Corporate said you’re too good at this, we we’re going to raise it to 25 percent. So now I have to get 25 percent by 2020,” Gilmore said. So efficient has the Fort Worth facility been in cutting costs that it accepted no part of the $14 million energy-reduction budget that Lockheed Martin Corp. distributed among its facilities last year. “I didn’t take a dime of that money. I created my own [energy-saving] projects,” said Gilmore. Among those energy-saving measures are cooling towers acting like giant air filters. They save between 50 million and 78 million gallons of water a year, said Gilmore, crediting an acid-treatment system that allows water to be used longer before any flushing is required.

“We simply increased our cycle time,” Gilmore said. Motivating the company to cut its utility bills was a Department of Energy program promoting energy efficiency. In December 2012, it joined the city of Fort Worth in committing to make its buildings 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. Lockheed Martin was ahead of the curve, having pursued such measures for 30 years. According to company records, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics saved $183,285 in electricity costs in 2003. That compares to $7.2 million in 2013, with savings from 2003 to 2013 totaling $28 million. So what’s next for a division that’s already flipped a sizable switch on even more sizable savings? “I’ll continue to pull out my bag of tricks to see where we can save,” Gilmore said. By 2020, the company plans to reduce carbon emissions by 35 percent; facility energy use, 25 percent; water use, 25 percent; and landfill waste, 35 percent. Fort Worth already appears to be doing its part.