NEWS | Sept. 30, 2013

Energy conservation is everyone’s responsibility

By Master Sgt. Bill Lipsett 628th Civil Engineer Squadron operations management

I can still here my father telling me, "Turn off those lights if you're not in your room," or "Put on a pair of socks and a sweatshirt if you're cold," or better yet, "Close the door! We're you raised in a barn?"

I'm now a proud father of eight children ... yes, eight ... and I can tell you that the proverbial apple didn't fall far from the tree when it comes to energy conservation in my home. I'm sure many of you can relate to my story. For many of us, energy conservation was just a part of growing up.

Nationwide, October is Energy Action Month, highlighting the importance of the energy we use in day-to-day living, as well as informing us of ways to reduce the energy that we waste. For a long time, I primarily associated energy management with cost savings. As I've become older, I realize it's about much more than just dollars and cents. Don't get me wrong, saving a few dollars is a huge plus, but so is preserving our finite resources for future generations. As a father, I plan to do my best to ensure my one-month old daughter has access to the same resources we've all become accustomed to in our day-to-day lives.

As Airmen, we're serving during a time of unprecedented resource constraints. It's imperative we use those resources wisely. Energy is a critical resource each of us can influence directly. For many, there's a tendency to treat their work environment differently than their home in regards to energy consumption. Is that because you don't pay the utility bill? Sadly, many folks see it that way, or simply just don't think about it.

What can you do to help reduce wasteful energy consumption? For starters, be "owners" of your facilities. Treat your work spaces as if you had to pay the utility bill. If a light is left on and nobody's in the room, turn it off. Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use free daylight during the day. Control direct sunlight through windows to help regulate temperature. During winter months, close the blinds at night to help keep the heat in; open them during the day and allow the natural sunlight to warm the room. In summer months, close the blinds during the day to minimize the impact of the hot sun. If you have fans, use them to maintain a comfortable temperature, humidity and air movement. A temperature setting of three to five degrees higher can feel comfortable with fans.

Make sure your HVAC filters are clean. Dirty filters overwork equipment and result in poor indoor air quality. If you have got a water leak, report it right away. Small leaks can add up to thousands of gallons of water wasted each month. Bottom line: take care of your building. I challenge you to find what works for you within your organization in regards to energy management.

Sound energy management is everyone's responsibility. As we go forward, energy conservation must be at the forefront in order to preserve our limited resources. Take a common sense approach, and realize it's about more than just dollars and cents. Don't overthink it; go with your gut. Be owners. Think big picture. Look to the future. It's like my father always told me, "Leave it better than you found it!" I plan on it, do you?