Dan Cohen AUTHOR In a project designed to save money and reduce carbon emissions, Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., will replace its 101-year-old coal-fired central steam plant with natural gas boilers throughout the island.The $22.4-million modernization project will be funded by a 15-year energy savings performance contract (ESPC) from Honeywell. The company guarantees the upgrades will generate enough savings each year to pay for the work, eliminating the need for upfront capital or additional taxpayer dollars.The improvements also will help the garrison address recent changes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act calling for a reduction of coal use or the installation of costly pollution control equipment in plants that burn fossil fuels.As part of the project, Honeywell will replace the existing coal-fired central steam plant with high-efficiency natural gas boilers at about 30 buildings, according to a company press release. The revamp to the heating system is expected to reduce energy consumption by 11 percent and water consumption by 12 percent. The work should also reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 20,800 metric tons.“Evolving our operation to be more efficient and sustainable not only helps protect the environment, but also the well-being of the community, which we’ve been a part of for more than 150 years,” said Garrison Command Col. Elmer Speights Jr. “With this project, we’ll reduce our operating costs significantly while also lowering our environmental impact by eliminating our reliance on coal as a heating source.”The project is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2016. This work builds on a previous modernization project at the arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center. Taken together, the two efforts are expected to cut arsenal-wide energy use by more than 35 percent and water consumption by approximately 30 percent.