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NATO Science for Peace and Security camp energy efficiency project

Project description

Military deployed camps are heavily reliant on diesel fuel, which imposes significant energy security burdens, high costs, and transport challenges through sensitive areas. To quantify energy consumption and identify optimal cost-effective energy reductions, an understanding of key energy flows is required. To achieve this understanding, a collaborative project with various NATO country and partner organizations was initiated aiming to:

  • collect deployed camp energy footprint and equipment energy end use data in a harmonized way
  • develop a universal deployed camp energy simulation tool validated with the deployed camp energy data collection effort

Through prediction tools and knowledge of baseline energy consumption, deployed camps can be designed more rationally, leading to a reduced logistical and environmental footprint on the smallest of operations.

The NATO Science for Peace and Security Project on Deployed Camp Energy Efficiency (G5525) is a multi-year project that started in September 2018. The project co-directors are listed below with their respective contact details. Canada is the NATO country project director with Australia as the partner country project director. Germany, Netherlands and USA are the other country co-directors.

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Project Co-Directors
Title and Name Institution Country Email
Mr. Martin Kegel NRCan, CanmetENERGY Canada
Dr. Michael Ling DST Group, Department of Defence Australia
Mr. Harald Sommer Infrastructure, Environmental Protection and Services, BmVG Germany
LtCol Paul van der Heul Royal Netherlands Army Engineer Training Centre Netherlands
Mr. Charles (Tom) Decker US Army Corps of Engineers USA

End users and observers in the project include:

  • Department of National Defence, Canadian Joint Operations Command
  • NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence
  • Military Engineering Centre of Excellence
  • Allied Command Operations
  • European Union Military Staff
  • France, Denmark and the United Kingdom

Exercise: Capable Logistician 2019

As part of the Smart Energy Multinational Integrated Logistics Unit (MILU), 18 different processes and MILUs were monitored in a harmonized way during the NATO Exercise Capable Logistician 2019 (CL 19). The exercise included seven different water treatment plants, shelters, hybrid power systems, laundry facilities, laboratories, an incinerator and the local weather.

The metering generated significant interest among the electricians and engineers participating in the exercise to gain a better understanding of the power and energy requirements of specific processes. New power generating systems were also trialled and metered with some solutions achieving 50% fuel reductions over the exercise period.

Moreover, observations, discussions, conclusions and recommendations (ODCRs) to update smart energy related NATO standardization agreements and technical publications were identified and developed through the exercise and as part of the Evaluation, Analysis and Reporting Capability (EAR-C) cell. The findings were presented at the Military Engineering Working Group in 2020 with updates being implemented during planned review sessions.

Large metal containers and two smaller metal boxes, with cables and wires, are seen in the middle of a field as part of a monitoring demonstration for the Capable Logistician exercise.

Metering and monitoring

Collected energy consumption data is rarely harmonized among NATO nations, resulting in differing conclusions and adding to the challenge of identifying a suitable energy reduction solution. This project allowed to establish a common understanding of camp energy requirements and end uses by developing a non-intrusive, harmonized energy monitoring and data collection system.

Each project co-director received a universal metering and monitoring kit to measure deployed camp energy consumption at different levels. A weather station was included with each kit to enable the normalization of data and understand the trends and key performance indicators of a deployed camp’s electricity consumption.

Throughout the project, the metering kits were also shared with the end users and project observers to undertake energy studies. Training was also provided to over 50 engineers, electricians and generator technicians.

The video below provides more in-depth information about the energy metering and monitoring process.

Deployed camp energy metering and monitoring


Hi, my name is Eric McDonald. I’m a young engineering researcher for Natural Resources Canada.

Under the NATO Science for Peace and Security Project (SPS) on Deployed Camp Energy Efficiency, I led the development and trialing of a universal energy metering solution to gain a better understanding of deployed camp energy consumption.

In partnership with our Canadian Armed Forces, before the start of the SPS Camp Energy Efficiency Project, we developed a deployable Metering and Monitoring System to help increase utility efficiency and reduce logistic impacts while increasing energy awareness on deployed camps.

Through the NATO SPS project, we have adapted the metering kits to be universal, non-intrusive, and enabling a rapidly deployable capability to meter and monitor deployed camps’ energy consumption for NATO and partner co-directing nations as well as end users in the project.

In total, we have also provided training on using and understanding the monitored energy consumption. During the NATO SPS project, we have helped train 50 engineers, electricians and generator technicians on the energy metering and monitoring.

The metering system provides an easy plug and play option to monitor the complete power requirements of a deployed camp, helping define requirements to size power plants and support studies that aid in procurement processes and in the design of the power plants of the future.

Through the feedback by the co-directors and end users in the project, an energy management software was recently coupled with the energy monitoring kits to dashboard or visualize the data in simple ways to facilitate informed decision-making and troubleshooting in the field.

This enables immediate identification of real-time modifications to increase utility efficiency during multi-domain operations.

I will now provide a recent scenario on how the energy metering helped reduce the fuel consumption in a deployed camp.

During a recent Canadian Armed Forces exercise, the monitoring system was trialed with the new dashboarding system. It highlighted the ability to react in real time to energy events using key performance indicators and access to live data.

Canadian Armed Forces camp planners designed the power plant for three 60 kW generators based off the camp’s estimated power requirements and anticipated climate. A total of four 60 kW generators were brought into theatre.

But during the exercise, it quickly became apparent that all four generators were required to power the camp, leading to higher fuel consumption. By using the dashboard, it was easy to identify where all the energy was going. And investigating the reason with the camp energy manager, it was identified that the heating equipment used in theatre was their electric Environmental Conditioning Units and not the diesel heaters that were indicated for the camp design.

To reduce the power requirements of this section, the total number of Environmental Conditioning Units was reduced from six to three, and the temperature set points of the units were set back from 25 to 21 degrees Celsius.

The system was still able to provide adequate heating, maintaining comfort conditions, while reducing the peak load to only require three generators and achieving 25% fuel savings.

As a young engineering researcher, I truly appreciated the opportunity that I was given in the NATO SPS Camp Energy Efficiency Project, specifically the opportunity to participate in Capable Logistician 2019.

I worked with multiple nations in implementing better energy management practices and was able to understand and appreciate the challenges and importance in developing a harmonized and interoperable energy metering solution to better understand power and energy requirements of a deployed camp.


Deployed camp energy simulation

Energy simulation tools are a cost-effective approach to gaining further understanding of a camp’s energy end uses without going into detailed sub-metering. However, simulation tools can be either too complicated (requiring specialized personnel and extensive training) or too simple (not taking time-varying load profiles into account).

To meet the required balance between a simplistic energy simulation tool and a sufficient refinement for accurate and conclusive assessments, a simulation interface was developed.

Creating a database of shelter energy models and energy efficient technologies, the interface allows the user to quickly develop a custom camp energy model and to input only the pertinent information related to energy consumption. The user can quickly estimate the energy saving potential and cost benefit of incorporating efficiency measures in a specific region and time period.

Through the NATO Science for Peace and Security project, the Forces Operation Resource Calculator for Energy Simulator (FORCE-SIM) was developed and validated with various deployed camp energy metering efforts.

The video below provides a detailed overview of the FORCE-SIM tool.

Deployed camp energy simulation tool


My name is Stéphanie Breton and I’m a young engineering researcher at Natural Resources Canada.

Under the NATO Science for Peace and Security Project on Deployed Camp Energy Efficiency, I have led the development of FORCE-SIM, a deployed camp energy simulation tool.

FORCE-SIM is a simulation tool used to estimate the power and energy requirements of deployed camps.

The software is modular, allowing users to build and simulate custom camps, of various sizes and configurations, in any region of the world.

The main advantage of FORCE-SIM is its user-friendliness. No in-depth expertise of building simulation is required to use the tool. It’s designed to replicate how a camp planner goes about designing their camp, with limited commonly-known inputs.

The balance between default and custom user inputs makes the tool highly flexible.

Features in the FORCE-SIM tool include shelter types, camp occupancy profiles, and heating and cooling equipment.

A new feature I worked on is to give the user the ability to simulate hybrid power plants to evaluate different camp energy efficiency options. The hybrid power plant options include solar power, wind power, battery storage and variable-speed diesel generators.

Camp planners can then evaluate different alternatives to reduce diesel consumption.

Through this project, I got to use metered data from actual deployed camps to develop and validate simulation models. I not only deepened my expertise in modelling, but also gained experience linking real-world data to a simulation tool.

FORCE-SIM is definitely not a one-person feat.

I had the chance to work with and manage a team of multiple computer science and software engineering interns to implement different features.

It has been rewarding to have the opportunity to work on real-world applications, and I’m proud to be contributing to improving energy awareness and ultimately the effectiveness in the Forces through the development of FORCE-SIM.


Energy management handbook

Outputs from the Deployed Camp Energy Efficiency Project also supported the development of an Energy Management Handbook to help camp energy managers implement efficiency measures. The Energy Management Handbook was led by the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence in collaboration with the Military Engineering Centre of Excellence, the United Kingdom Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY.

The handbook is the first of its kind for Deployed Camps and through the findings of the SPS G5525 project, deployed camp energy managers have better guidance to implementing energy efficiency strategies in a deployed camp.

Contact CanmetENERGY in Varennes

To learn more about this project, email Martin Kegel at

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