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Turn energy awareness into action

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Workers install solar panels at Buckley Air Force Base May 24, 2010. Buckley Air Force Base is installing 5,040 solar panels over six acres on the base to meet the Air Force’s mandate on renewable energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Workers install solar panels at Buckley Air Force Base May 24, 2010. Buckley Air Force Base installed 5,040 solar panels over six acres on the base to meet the Air Force's mandate on renewable energy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Paul Labbe)

TYNDALL Air Force Base, Fla. -- This October, the Air Force joins our nation once again to observe Energy Awareness Month. This year's theme, "Power the Force, Fuel the Fight," encourages us to do more than just be "aware." Instead, military personnel and civilians alike should take action.

"The Air Force is making excellent progress toward satisfying federal energy mandates," said Rick Stacey, chief of the Air Force Facility Energy Center, a division of the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. "Some of the more prominent goals require us to reduce energy intensity 30 percent by 2015, reduce water intensity 26 percent by 2020, and increase renewable energy to 25 percent of all electricity use by 2025. But as time goes by, the goals are getting tougher. We need everyone doing all they can do to help the Air Force continue our energy program successes."

Since 2003, the Air Force has reduced energy use nearly 15 percent, water consumption 11 percent, and more than six percent of all electricity is obtained from renewable sources. The Air Force energy strategy for meeting these goals is to reduce demand for fossil fuels, increase supply of renewable sources, and change the culture through awareness initiatives.

Reduce demand

The Air Force uses facility energy audits, utility meters, energy recommissionings, and a variety of other tools to pursue aggressive reduction targets. At Kirtland AFB, N.M., audits led to an upgraded energy management control system that is expected to save $3.7 million over the lifetime of the system. Newly installed meters at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., allowed for better resource management and generated $2 million of new revenue through more accurate billing of non-Department of Defense tenants. And Air Combat Command's facility recommissioning, or building "tune-up," program incurred enough energy savings to cut $433,000 from utility bills in 2010.

Increase supply

The Air Force leads the Department of Defense as the number one producer and user of renewable energy. More than six percent of our electric supply comes from on-base renewable energy projects including wind, solar, geothermal, and landfill gas. "We are evaluating ways to expand our portfolio to include waste-to-energy and biomass projects as we work toward producing 25 percent renewable energy by 2025," said Ken Gray, AFFEC Rates and Renewable Branch chief. Two new wind turbines will come online this fall at the Massachusetts Military Reservation. Additionally, construction will soon begin on a 14 megawatt solar array at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

Change the culture

Our success, our ability to truly change the Air Force culture and develop a new mindset when it comes to energy, depends on you. "Each individual can and must contribute," said Mr. Stacey. "No matter how small or how large the action, people will ultimately make the difference. Take a moment to turn off lights and appliances when not in use; make saving energy and water a habit every day; and encourage your family, friends, and co-workers to do their part too."

Take "ACTION" this Energy Awareness Month. A-C-T-I-O-N stands for: Appliance reduction; Computer log off; Temperature set points; Inform facility managers; Outdoor conservation; and No waste. These are easy steps that can yield positive results for the community and the Air Force.

A: Appliance reduction - Reducing the number of appliances in your facility can yield significant energy savings. Refrigerators, coffee pots, and microwaves should be consolidated into break rooms.

C: Computer log off -Don't just pull out your ID card and go home, remember to log off. The Air Force IT Power Management Team estimates this action alone can save more than $10 million a year.

T: Temperature Control - Most bases use set points of 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. Dress appropriately for the temperature in your facility. Do not use space heaters or fans.

I: Inform your facility manager - Report incorrect temperature set points, leaky faucets, blocked air vents, cracked windows, and other problems to your facility manager or civil engineer customer service.

O: Outdoor conservation - If you notice a broken sprinkler head wasting water or area lights left on in a parking lot during the day, report it to your local civil engineer customer service.

N: No waste - Don't turn a blind eye to problems. If you see something that doesn't need to be on, turn it off. If you see a problem, report it.


If you have any questions about energy conservation at Buckley Air Force Base please contact the Base Energy Manager at 720-847-9189.
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