Renewable Thermal Energy

Sunlight can cost-effectively produce the hot water needed at shore facilities. Navy and Marine Corps bases produced enough solar hot water in 2009 to provide for the needs of more than 7000 typical homes. The water was used for a variety of purposes, including housing needs and pool heating. 

Ground source heat pumps use the relatively stable temperatures of the earth or a body of water to provide heating and cooling. Navy and Marine Corps bases have installed thousands of ground source heat pumps, most of them using traditional ground wells. Noteworthy alternative systems include one at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Wash., with more than 200 tons of capacity that uses the Hood Canal as a source of heat and cooling. Naval Air Station Oceana uses effluent from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District to provide heat and cooling for a 450 ton ground source heat pump system and a 4,400 ton condenser cooling water loop.

A Department of Defense renewable study concluded that the most cost-effective renewable solar technology is daylighting—the use of the light from the sun, combined with complementary electrical lighting systems, to keep work spaces properly and efficiently lit. Daylighting in new construction is an important component in our meeting goals. Additionally, bases in the Southwest U.S. and Hawaii have retrofit enough existing buildings with daylighting skylights and controls to offset nearly 10,000 megawatt-hours of energy use.

Cogeneration plants that operate on alternative sources produce both renewable electricity and renewable thermal energy. Cogeneration plants mentioned on this page that use geothermal energy, biomass or landfill gas fall into this category of highly efficient renewable energy systems.