CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WNCT) – Camp Lejeune is the largest energy consumer in the entire Marine Corps and, currently, the base burns over 700 tons of coal each year.
Now, Camp Lejeune is making a big change that will make it the most energy efficient Marine Corps base in the nation.
For more than 70 years, one building has been a prominent fixture at Camp Lejeune, providing thousands of Marines and their families with hot water and heat during the winter.
But now, the tons of coal piled up outside will be allowed to run out.
That’s because Camp Lejeune is completing a four-year process to overhaul its heating system.
The centralized coal plant will now be replaced by individual natural gas boilers in 474 buildings on base.
Lead engineer Elizabeth Smith said the boilers will save about 50 percent more heat during transmission to homes.
“We’ve done multiple construction projects and design projects in order to provide the heating and hot water sources that this provides to at each individual building,” said Elizabeth Smith, Camp Lejeune Mechanical Engineer. “So now, each individual building will have those services provided at the actual facility.”
The cost of the project is $150 million.
But the payback is worth it. The base will make that money back between four to seven years.
“The plant is burning 70 tons of coal per day,” explained Lt. Anna Coltey, Camp Lejeune Deputy Installation Manager. “By getting rid of the coal, it reduces carbon dioxide emissions, deletes the 69 thousand tons of coal used up per year, and reduces water usage because steam uses that water and are far from the plant so we’re reducing the main bill by $13 million per year.”
After the project is completed, the base will have exceeded the federal requirement for carbon emissions.
Each building takes anywhere from 60 to 90 days to replace with the boilers.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of this winter.