Kroeschell Takes Command of Steam Decentralization at Naval Station Great Lakes

The naval base relied on Kroeschell to bring independent boiler systems to more than 95 buildings on base.

About this project

For years, the 193 acre Naval Station Great Lakes, located in Great Lakes, Illinois, has operated with a central steam plant with an inefficient underground distribution system. Inevitably, the base was taking on higher energy and maintenance costs. The Navy decided it was time to make a change.


The Navy decided to decentralize the steam plant and supply each of the 97 buildings with an individual boiler system. This would allow each building to use their own heating source more efficiently. The Navy bid the work and ultimately awarded the three-year, $57,000,000 project to Kroeschell.


Kroeschell oversaw five building additions totaling 8,000 SF; as well as 4,500 SF of non-mechanical space converted into mechanical rooms. These conversions included all facets of construction; electrical, plumbing, HVAC, sheet metal, fire alarm, sprinkler piping and extension of natural gas utility piping to provide new gas meters for all buildings.

A significant component of Kroeschell’s bid package was the proposed “Betterment Package.” Kroeschell suggested two types of betterments.

  • With the first, Kroeschell identified steam boiler plants that they believed could be converted to hot water boilers instead: hot water boilers were selected with efficiencies up to 96% while steam boiler efficiencies are only 80%. We located 14 buildings that were eligible for this betterment and saved the Navy $1,150,000.
  • In the second, Kroeschell offered a hybrid solution. The design called for expensive high-efficiency condensing boilers in all buildings. We proposed the installation of both high-efficiency condensing boilers as well as lower efficiency but more economical noncondensing boilers. We chose this solution because a condensing boiler at full load is not condensing anymore, and therefore, there is no benefit. This saved the Navy 11.7% on boiler equipment costs or $415,000.


  • By year three, 95% of the new boilers were operational and the base was already reporting about 25% less energy consumption as they had seen in previous years.
  • Kroeschell’s two betterment packages saved the Navy $1,570,000.

The Naval Station Great Lakes has recognized nearly $9,000,000 a year in energy savings with the Betterment Packages, emissions reduction savings and federal rebates.

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