NEWS | Sept. 23, 2014

Energy reduction and Air Force priorities

By Jeff Morgan 628th Civil Engineer Energy Management Office

October is Energy Action Month, a time to think about the importance of energy in our daily lives, in the lives of our families and in our ability to accomplish our mission. The theme for Energy Action Month is "I am Air Force Energy," because we all have a role to play in ensuring energy security and achieving our mission to fly, fight and win, in air, space and cyberspace. 

Air Force leadership has clearly stated its priorities as winning today's fight, taking care of our people and preparing for tomorrow's challenges.  It is up to each MAJCOM, installation, functional area and Air Force member to ensure its activities and actions support these priorities.

One way all of us can support Air Force priorities both directly or indirectly is by reducing waste and ensuring our limited resources are used effectively. Energy reduction, a form of waste reduction, is something that each of us can practice by decisions we make each day. Here are some numbers to consider:  Joint Base Charleston spends an average of $1.2 million each month for electricity or almost $13.5 million each year.

Joint Base Charleston is leading the way in large-scale energy reduction efforts.  We have an Energy Savings Performance Contract in which we have partnered with contractors to install energy-efficient lighting throughout our facilities, geothermal heat pumps, a central chilled water plant, enhanced energy management controls systems and energy-efficient heating and ventilation and air conditioning systems in more than 138 facilities on the Air Base. The introduction of these new systems has allowed us to achieve a 37% energy reduction and save over $2.4 million in additional energy and water costs each year since 2007. We are now exploring possible opportunities for a future ESPC on the Weapons Station.

While we continue to look at large-scale or system-wide energy reduction opportunities, each unit can reduce energy consumption through several simple practices. Remove unnecessary coffee pots, microwaves, hot plates and other small appliances. Turn off all tools, office machines and portable appliances when not in use. Use daylight instead of electric light whenever possible. Turn off lights whenever you leave your office or a room is unoccupied.  Ensure computer monitors automatically switch to sleep mode after a few minutes of inactivity.  By simply setting your thermostat to 76-78 degrees during the summer months you can help reduce our overall consumption by 10-15%.  Contact the Civil Engineer Squadron Service Call to report inoperative lights, switches, air-conditioning systems and thermostats.

Energy conservation at JB Charleston is a continually evolving process and requires participation from all members.  Resources saved by energy reduction can be used to support our mission and quality of life. The "I Am Air Force Energy" theme speaks not only to the progress that our Airmen have made but also how we all can make a difference in helping the Air Force become more energy secure.  Through your efforts both big and small your innovation is crucial to our ability to achieve our mission and maintain an assured energy advantage in air, space and cyberspace.